Sunday, 23 February, 2020


NZ star Sonny Bill Williams joining Toronto Wolfpack

St Helens' victory in the Grand Final was their first for five years St Helens victory in the Grand Final was their first for five years
Noah Ferguson | 08 November, 2019, 09:55

New Zealand cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams is close to sealing a return to rugby league with Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack, Sky Sports News understands. He appeared 73 times for Canterbury and 45 times for Sydney in the National Rugby League in Australia.

This signing also represents a huge personal investment from Wolfpack owner David Argyle and other backers of the club. Wolfpack chairman and interim CEO Bob Hunter said last week that discussions were continuing.

England lost the World Cup final 32-12 to South Africa last Saturday but Tuilagi was one of the best players when they crushed the All Blacks in their 19-7 semifinal win.

"We'd obviously be extremely excited about landing a player of that calibre and that notoriety", Hunter said at the time.

"He's made his mind up to play for the Toronto Wolfpack who play in the English Super League", Nine News reporter Danny Weidler told the network. He was part of the New Zealand rugby sevens team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, partially rupturing an Achilles tendon in the All Blacks' first match.

He has also boxed professionally, winning all seven of his fights, and held the World Boxing Association International heavyweight title and New Zealand Professional Boxing Association heavyweight title.

And he'll take a share in Toronto Wolfpack.

Their coach Brian McDermott, a Super League victor with Leeds Rhinos, has said the club wanted to bring in a David Beckham-type player to do for the Wolfpack what the former football star did when joining LA Galaxy in the United States, raising their profile exponentially, and that Williams fitted the bill.

They have since built up a home following of 9,000 and were promoted to the Super League in October after beating Featherstone Rovers 24-6 in the Million Pound Game.

Like Major League Soccer, English rugby league has a salary cap with a partial exemption for marquee players.

He has reportedly agreed in principle to a multi-year deal with the Cowboys worth around $1 million a season but that hasn't stopped Wolfpack speculation.

He can be one of many membership's two permitted marquee gamers, that means exclusively about $250,000 can be utilized to the Wolfpack's wage cap.

Toronto's marquee players in 2019 were Australian forward Darcy Lussick and Samoan worldwide back Ricky Leutele.

Williams, 34, a second-row forward, has been a star in both rugby league and rugby union.

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