Sonny Bill Williams commits to All Blacks

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Sonny BIll Williams has committed to the All Blacks until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, ending speculation of an NRL return.

Williams, who is currently playing for an Olympic spot with the New Zealand Sevens, will join the Auckland Blues in Super Rugby.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he hoped Williams's contract wouldn't be his last, with high praise for the NRL convert.

Williams said a call from Hansen almost immediately after the World Cup last year started the process.

"When you have probably the best coach ever in the 15-man game telling him you're part of his plans, that really means a lot," he said.

"Straight after that I got on to my manager and said I want to stay, let's get the contract done."

Sonny Bill Williams found success at the Chiefs. Photo: Getty ImagesAs for switching his club allegiance, Williams said moving to Auckland was motivated by family, though expressed his gratitude to the Chiefs, his most recent Super Rugby franchise, with whom he played in the 2013 championship.

"I've got a young family , little daughter and hopefully some more kids and my wife doesn't have any family here and most of my family's in Auckland," he said.

"That weighed a lot in my decision. There's no secret me and Tana ( Blues coach Tana Umaga) go way back."

While his future is now sorted, Williams said his full immediate focus was on his Olympic tilt.

"I'm still fully focused on Sevens i have a dream that is to be a part of that Olympic squad, training my butt off," he said.

"It's pretty special to say I'm coached in the 15 man game by the best coach ever and coached by the best Sevens coach ever.

"Sevens has given me a new lease on life. Physically, I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been." 

Williams, 30, has won two Rugby World Cups with New Zealand and his new deal gives him a chance to play in a third, in Japan in 2019.

The former Canterbury and Sydney Roosters NRL player has notched 33 All Blacks Tests, as well as 15 matches for the Crusaders and 28 for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, over four seasons.

Williams could notch a quirky milestone, if he again scales the Super Rugby mountain, winning premierships with two clubs in both the NRL and Super Rugby.