Sonny Bill Williams set to bec...
Rugby

Sonny Bill Williams set to become highest paid rugby player ever

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

13:52 5 Nov 2019

Sonny Bill Williams will make a mega-money return to rugby league next year for Super League new boys the Toronto Wolfpack.

The deal is understood to be the most lucrative in the history of either rugby code, with the Kiwi superstar reportedly being paid over £5 million for his two-season contract. His status as a marquee player means most of his wages will sit outside the league's salary cap rules.

It will be a return to rugby league for the former All Black. In his last outing in the 13-man code, he spearheaded the Sydney Roosters’ charge to the NRL title in 2013. He also reached the World Cup final of 2013 at Old Trafford with New Zealand.

The 2020 Super League season will be Williams' third spell in Rugby League. SBW first came to prominence as a second-rower at the Canterbury Bulldogs, famed for his power. He was named rookie of the year in 2004. Williams remained at the Bulldogs until 2008.

The switch to Union somewhat controversially took place in the middle of the 2008 NRL season. Williams moved to France linking up with Tana Umaga at Toulon.

As well as amassing 58 caps for New Zealand including two world cup winners' medals. SBW won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs while also having stints at Crusaders, Wild Knights, and the Blues.

Sonny Bill Williams somehow found the time to launch a boxing career too. He still maintains a perfect seven from seven record in the ring.

Chase

Toronto owner David Argyle set his sights on signing Williams two years ago. The club stepped up the chase once they secured promotion after beating Featherstone in the Million Pound Game in October.

Head coach Brian McDermott reportedly flew to Japan during the Rugby World Cup to meet with Williams' representatives and is understood to have held face-to-face talks with the player.

Fittingly one of Williams' first matches will be at the north London home of European and English champions Saracens, who also refer to themselves as the Wolfpack after the club finalised their early-season away fixtures.

The Wolfpack are unable to play games at the Lamport Stadium until April because of the Canadian winter and the unavailability of their local authority-owned stadium so have switched their first three home fixtures.

Toronto open the season against last year's table-toppers Castleford in a double-header at Headingley on February 2nd.

The second game of the season will not be any easier as Williams and his Wolfpack will play champions St Helens at Allianz Stadium on February 29nd.

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Read more about

All Blacks New Zealand Rugby League Saracens Sonny Bill Williams Super League Wolfpack

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