Rugby: Sonny Bill Williams allowed to cover Super Rugby shirt sponsors

New Zealand Rugby have granted Sonny Bill Williams permission to cover some sponsors on his Blues Super Rugby shirt.

Sonny Bill Williams will be allowed to wear a Blues jersey without certain sponsors for this weekend's Super Rugby clash with Hurricanes.

The cross-code star made his first Blues appearance against Highlanders last time out after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon at the Rio Olympics.

Williams came off the bench in the second half in the 26-20 defeat with some sponsors on his shirt covered in tape.

Ahead of the next round of fixtures Williams, who is a practicing Muslim, asked for special dispensation to have the logos of BNZ and Investec removed from his shirt on religious grounds.

"I want to be clear that this is nothing personal against the BNZ or Investec," Williams said in a statement, as quoted by the New Zealand Herald.

"My objection to wearing clothing that markets banks, alcohol and gambling companies is central to my religious beliefs and it is important to me to have been granted this exemption.

"As I learn more and develop a deeper understanding of my faith, I am no longer comfortable doing things I used to do. So while a logo on a jersey might seem like a small thing to some people, it is important to me that I do the right thing with regards to my faith and hope that people respect that.

"I know I'm not perfect. Every day I work hard to become a better person. I want to thank the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for working with me through this matter over the last couple of days and respecting my religion and accommodating my request."

New Zealand Rugby general manager Neil Sorensen confirmed the request had been accepted as it was a "conscientious objection".

He said: "Sonny holds clear religious beliefs in relation to this matter and we respect those. Conscientious objections need to be genuine, and we believe this is."

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