Sonny Bill arrives in Japan
August 30, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams said farewell to New Zealand rugby following the All Blacks' Rugby Championship victory over Australia last weekend © PA Photos
Sonny Bill Williams has arrived in Japan to begin the next chapter of his headline-grabbing career.
Williams will train with Top League side the Wild Knights for the first time on Thursday at the start of a lucrative 10-game contract that is expected to precede a return to National Rugby League in Australia with the Sydney Roosters next year.
The 27-year-old bid farewell to New Zealand rugby following the All Blacks' 22-0 victory over Australia last weekend, thanks to an agreement to delay his move to Japan, and is relishing a fresh challenge.
"I just want to experience the culture, and get to understand it and embrace it," Williams told ONE Sport. "It will take me a while to break the language barrier, but hopefully in the next month or two, I can do that."
Williams, A World Cup winner who also won the Super Rugby title with the Chiefs earlier this year, has not ruled out a return to rugby union at a later date and the New Zealand Rugby Union are also open to the possibility
"Who knows? Hopefully down the track I can come back and play in New Zealand," he said following his last appearance - for now - for the All Blacks. "Winning with the Chiefs and tonight has made it a little bit more happy leaving in that sense. But still, when you form close friendships, it is tough to leave."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene