Sonny Bill links up with Chiefs
October 31, 2011
After much deliberation, Sonny Bill Williams has decided to join the Chiefs © Getty Images
All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has penned a new one-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) which will see him line out for the Chiefs next year.
The gifted centre, who played for the Crusaders last season, had been linked with a lucrative move overseas as well as a return to rugby league. However, much to the delight of NZRU general manager Neil Sorensen, Williams has decided to continue playing union in his homeland.
"He was exciting to watch in Super Rugby this year, and he played an important role in the spectacular Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks side," Sorensen said.
"He's a special player who creates some real excitement and interest in the game with his style of rugby. We're looking forward to seeing him create some more excitement in a Chiefs, as well as an All Blacks, jersey next year.
Unsurprisingly, Chiefs CEO Gary Dawson is delighted that his franchise has managed to beat off interest from so many rival clubs to secure the services of the midfield ace.
"This is outstanding news for Chiefs fans," he said. "He is a world-class athlete who brings with him a unique set of skills and qualities. We are delighted he has chosen to play with us next year and we're looking forward to welcoming him next year."
New Chiefs coach Dave Rennie is expecting Williams' arrival to have a massive impact on the franchise, and the younger members of his playing staff in particular.
"We're rapt Sonny's joining the Chiefs," Rennie said. "He had a very good World Cup and his professionalism and work ethic will have a great influence on what is a very young team."
The exact details of Williams' deal with the Chiefs have not been disclosed but it is believed that there is a clause in his contract which will allow him to continue to pursue a career in professional boxing. The player has won all four of his bouts to date.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
After Sam Egerton became the first person to be red carded in the Varsity match, Scrum Sevens looks at seven other high-profile dismissals at Twickenham
Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Oxford University Women's Rugby Football Club who have recently made headlines across the world, from Tokyo to New York
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby