Cooper, Sonny Bill set for SA sevens spectacle

Reports have confirmed that Quade Cooper and Sonny Bill Williams will play in the George Sevens Premier League in December.

Cooper and Williams’s agent, Khoder Nasser, was in Cape Town this week to negotiate deals with sports promoter Willem Strauss, who will manage the Premier League, and South African boxing promoter Tinus Strydom, who is connected to the tournament. It is also believed that Williams wants to plan a boxing bout in Cape Town in the near future too.

The duo will play for NBM All Stars team. Strauss also confirmed that Welsh wing Shane Williams has also signed on to play for the franchise.

The George Sevens Premier League will be a 12-team tournament (could be expanded to 16 teams) that will be played over a weekend (14-15 December). All the franchises will be privately owned and will feature the big names in world sevens and 15-man rugby. While the overall prize money is R1 million, some players are rumoured to be paid R100 000 just for the weekend’s commitment.

‘I was at the Kings-Bulls Super Rugby warm-up game in Port Elizabeth last year and Hennie Baartman, the SWDRFU president, approached me with the idea,’ Strauss told SA Rugby magazine. ‘George had just lost the South African leg of the Sevens World Series to PE, and he wanted something to take its place. There is a strong sevens culture in George and it made sense to try and come up with something.

‘The exciting thing about this event is that we could see a player who has spent his entire career playing 15-man rugby, and suddenly make a splash as a sevens player. Who knows, we could discover a sevens star and see them playing for their nation at the 2016 Olympic Games.’