Sonny Bill Williams signs $T26 million rugby league deal
All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams is returning to rugby league after he reportedly signed a 2-year US$10 million (T$26 million) deal with the English Super League side Toronto Wolfpack.
Australia’s Channel Nine News broke the story overnight on the rugby star with Samoan heritage signing a deal worth US$10 million with the Canadian rugby league side.
The deal makes Williams the highest-paid rugby league player in the world.
“There has been a lot of speculation about what Sonny Bill’s next move will be, it will be to return to rugby league – not in the NRL – he’s made his mind up to join the Toronto Wolfpack who play in the English Super League,” said Channel Nine reporter Danny Weidler. “The deal is stunning, US$10 million for two years work, incredible money. Probably the biggest deal I have ever heard of in rugby league or rugby union.”
William’s return to rugby league also opens the door to possible Toa Samoa representation at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, though his last rugby league test appearance before switching codes was for the New Zealand Kiwis.
After spending five seasons with the Canterbury Bulls and Sydney Roosters in the Australian NRL, he moved to rugby union in 2010 and played for Toulon, Crusaders, Chiefs and the Panasonic Wild Knights – and appeared for the New Zealand All Blacks, including the recent Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Williams, who has a Samoan passport and qualifies to represent both New Zealand and Samoa in test rugby league, last visited Samoa in 2014 to do an NRL promotion. In 2013 reports emerged of Williams snubbing New Zealand to play for Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup that year.