Sonny Bill Williams confirms Toronto Wolfpack switch

The signing of the 34-year-old is the biggest in Super League history and Williams said in a statement he was excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

“Toronto Wolfpack has established themselves as a multicultural and economic powerhouse, not only in the city but across the world,” Williams said.

“The club has big ambitions and big goals. I want to be part of all this and do all I can to help reach those lofty goals.

“On the field, I’d like to bring high-quality play and do all I can for the betterment of the team.

“Off the field, I’d like to use my experience to mentor the young players and be helpful where I am needed.


“Super League will be a new challenge and one I’m looking forward to. It will be a new experience and one I’m ready to embrace.”

Williams also won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs in 2012 and thanked New Zealand Rugby officials for their support during a career where he was also allowed to fight for the country’s heavyweight boxing title.

“I have been privileged and blessed to have been given so many opportunities in New Zealand rugby,” he said.

“Starting with Canterbury back in 2010, as well as the Crusaders and Chiefs, Counties Manukau and, of course, the Blues and All Blacks.

“I’d like to thank all those fans in New Zealand and around the world who have supported me.”

Toronto chairman and chief executive Robert Hunter said the signing is a huge shot in the arm for rugby league, not only in Canada but internationally.

“The excitement he will bring to the sport of rugby league in this country will be incredible,” Hunter said.

“Having someone of his talent join the Wolfpack will greatly raise the profile of the club and also help move the game forward globally.

“Sonny is a phenomenal athlete and we believe he is rugby’s LeBron James and his addition to our league is comparable to when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy.”

Williams will make his first official appearance as a Wolfpack player at a media conference at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London next Thursday.

He also thanked the Kiwi rugby community in a statement released by New Zealand rugby.

Williams is returning to rugby league, the sport where he first burst to prominence.Credit:Anthony Johnson

Williams played his 58th and final Test for the All Blacks at this year’s World Cup in Japan.

“I never dreamed that I’d play in the black jersey for 10 years playing alongside some of the legends of the game and I’m grateful for the support of so many people in helping me grow as a footy player over that time,” Williams said.

“Finally, to the players I’ve been privileged enough to play with, I’ve enjoyed every moment being with the brothers and that will be the biggest thing I will miss: the camaraderie and fun with my fellow players and being privileged to suit up with them and go out and do what we love. It’s been a pleasure.”


Williams made his debut for Canterbury in 2010 and earned his first All Blacks cap that year. In 2016, he joined the All Blacks Sevens team for the Rio Olympics.

“Sonny has been a leader for other players and New Zealanders, demonstrating how a high public profile can generate good through promoting positive messages and highlighting social issues,” said NZR Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum.

“He has also demonstrated a remarkable ability to express deep compassion and generosity for people in need.

“We thank Sonny for his service to rugby and the community and we wish him and his family the very best for their next adventure.”

AAP, with Reuters

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