Sonny Bill Williams returning to rugby union in 2015
December 20, 2013
Sonny Bill Williams is eyeing Rugby World Cup 2015 and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro © Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams is returning to rugby union in 2015, having signed a two-year deal with New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs. He is eyeing a berth at both Rugby World Cup 2015, with the All Blacks, and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with the All Blacks Sevens.
Williams was a key part of the Chiefs' Super Rugby championship-winning side in 2012, but he wasn't involved in this year's repeat after returning to rugby league. He produced a standout 2013 season for Sydney Roosters in their National Rugby League premiership-winning campaign, and confirmed in October that he would play for them again in next year's NRL.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said that Williams had said during negotiations that he would pursue a place in New Zealand's sevens rugby campaign for Rio de Janeiro 2016, when the abbreviated sport makes its Olympic debut.
"We think it is great that he has made his aspirations clear, and if he plays well enough to be considered for selection for those teams, then that is fantastic," Tew said.
"Sonny showed in his two years with New Zealand rugby that he is an outstanding talent and was a real asset to our game. We are delighted to have agreed terms, which will see him return to rugby in 2015."
Williams played 19 Tests for the All Blacks, and he was a member of their Rugby World Cup 2011-winning squad. He has played more than 30 Super Rugby matches for the Chiefs and Crusaders from 2010-2012, making an impact with his size, strength and trademark offloads at second five-eighth.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie couldn't hide his delight at re-signing Williams. "We're rapt. We made no secret that we were keen to get Sonny back in a Chiefs jersey. He's not only a quality player but adds huge value to our environment off the field."
Sonny Bill Williams adds value on and off the field © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league