Sonny Bill Williams gets backing from New Zealand Rugby in religious stand against Auckland Blues kit

Williams, who is a practising Muslim, objected to wearing a logo for the Bank of New Zealand and has now been backed by both New Zealand Rugby and the Auckland Blues

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The Independent Online

New Zealand World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams will not have to wear Auckland Blues' kit that includes specific logos.

Williams' Muslim faith means that he objects to wearing clothing that markets banks, alcohol and gambling companies.

He taped over a logo for BNZ (Bank of New Zealand) on his Blues kit for last weekend's Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders.

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The player taped over the BNZ logo in his last match (Getty)

And New Zealand Rugby and the Blues have now agreed to Williams' request that BNZ advertising and a logo for finance company Investec be removed from his kit.

Williams already has a conscientious objection clause in his contract with New Zealand Rugby that means he is not asked to carry out sponsorship commitments with companies involved in finance, gambling, tobacco or finance.

In a statement issued through New Zealand Rugby, reported by several media outlets, Williams said: "I want to be clear that this is nothing personal against the BNZ or Investec.

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Williams has only just returned to Union after a year playing Rugby Sevens (Getty)

"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 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."

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