Sonny Bill’s Toronto deal confirmed, Toa Samoa next?
After much speculation, Samoan Kiwi superstar, Sonny Bill Williams, has signed a two-year contract with Canadian rugby league club Toronto Wolfpack, who play in England’s Super League competition.
With the deal worth a reported $17 million tala, some have wondered whether the lucrative contract is a step towards retirement for the 34-year-old.
But Williams allayed those fears in a message to the team and its fans:
“I’m not coming over for a holiday…, I’m coming over to do some work.
“And God willing we can have a successful season on and off the field’’
The former All Black said the club has big ambitions and goals, and he will do all he can to help it reach them.
“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.
The Wolfpack are entering their maiden Super League season, having worked their way up the divisions since their inception in 2016
“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 said.
Wolfpack Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Hunter said the two-time Rugby World Cup and National Rugby League champion is a phenomenal athlete:
“We believe he is rugby’s LeBron James and his addition to our league is comparable to when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy.“
With Williams’ signature secure, it has been reported that Toronto are attempting to sign English Rugby Union internationals and fellow Samoans Manu Tuilagi and Ben Te’o.
Williams’ return to rugby league has also prompted hopes he could play for Samoa internationally.
Toa Samoa coach Matt Parish told NRL.com reporter Dan Walsh they will certainly be trying to get him on board for tests in 2020 and the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
"I know that although Sonny's New Zealand born but he's very proud of his Samoa heritage.
"To have his presence anywhere in any team is enormous. I know the influence he had at the [Sydney] Roosters in '13 when they won the comp with him on board.
"Since then he's been in that fantastic All Blacks system, he's won World Cups there, so his presence in any team, and especially Samoa, would be immense.
"If we could persuade Sonny it would be massive for Samoa and international league in general."
Before the prospect of a return to international rugby league, Williams has an offseason to enjoy before Toronto’s Super League season kicks off on the 3rd of February.