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Toronto chance too good for Sonny Bill Williams to turn down

The New Zealand star will return to rugby league for a third time in his career.

Sonny Bill Williams during the press conference at the Emirates Stadium.
Sonny Bill Williams during the press conference at the Emirates Stadium.
Image: Bradley Collyer

SONNY BILL WILLIAMS said he could not turn down the opportunity to join Super League new boys Toronto Wolfpack in a deal reportedly worth over £5 million to the former All Black.

Williams will return to rugby league for a third time in his career after ending his rugby union career with New Zealand by winning a bronze medal in the recent World Cup in Japan.

The two-year deal will reportedly see the dual-code international become the highest-paid rugby player in either union or league.

“Once this opportunity come about, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” said the 34-year-old as he faced the media in London.

Williams had a lengthy meeting in Japan with Toronto head coach Brian McDermott after New Zealand’s defeat to England in the semi-finals where he was convinced to sign up to the Wolfpack project.

My manager was speaking to these guys around that (World Cup) time, but for me I said I don’t want to hear anything about it because I wouldn’t have done myself or the New Zealand jersey any justice in thinking about that,” he added.

“But as soon as the England game finished, it was the next day I caught up with my manager and he filled me in and what a blessed opportunity it is.”

Toronto — backed by the Australian oil tycoon David Argyle — have risen up the leagues since entering England’s rugby league pyramid in 2017.

In October they beat Featherstone Rovers 24-6 in the Million Pound Game to reach the Super League, which will see top-level rugby league played in North America for the first time.

What they’re trying to achieve on and off the field is something special and instead of looking at the challenge and thinking what if I fail, it’s ‘what if we succeed and I am part of that?’” said Williams.

“North America, if that door opens? The opportunities for young players coming through would be amazing for themselves and their families and to say I am a part of that would be something special.”

The Wolfpack begin their Super League season at home to Castleford on 2 February.

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© – AFP, 2019   

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