The former Sydney Roosters and Bulldogs forward returns to rugby league after completing his second stint with the All Blacks, for whom he won the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and 2011. Williams, who lifted NRL premierships with the Roosters in 2013 and the Bulldogs on 2004, will now look to add a Super League
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Toronto, owned by Canadian-based Australian mining and resources entrepreneur David Argyle, secured promotion to the Super League in September in only their third year of existence.
The signing of the 34-year-old is the biggest in Super League history and Williams said in a statement he was excited about the challenge that lies ahead.
“Toronto Wolfpack has established themselves as a multicultural and economic powerhouse, not only in the city but across the world,” Williams said. “The club has big ambitions and big goals. I want to be part of all this and do all I can to help reach those lofty goals.
“On the field, I’d like to bring high-quality play and do all I can for the betterment of the team. Off the field, I’d like to use my experience to mentor the young players and be helpful where I am needed.
“Super League will be a new challenge and one I’m looking forward to. It will be a new experience and one I’m ready to embrace.”
Williams also won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs in 2012 and thanked New Zealand Rugby officials for their support during a career where he was also allowed to box for the country’s heavyweight boxing title.
“I have been privileged and blessed to have been given so many opportunities in New Zealand rugby,” he said. “Starting with Canterbury back in 2010, as well as the Crusaders and Chiefs, Counties Manukau and, of course, the Blues and All Blacks.
Toronto chairman and chief executive Robert Hunter said the signing of Williams is a huge shot in the arm for rugby league, not only in Canada but internationally.
“The excitement he will bring to the sport of rugby league in this country will be incredible,” Hunter said. “Having someone of his talent join the Wolfpack will greatly raise the profile of the club, and also help move the game forward globally.
“Sonny is a phenomenal athlete and we believe he is rugby’s LeBron James and his addition to our league is comparable to when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy.”
Meanwhile, Australia coach Mal Meninga has confirmed he wants the Kangaroos to play Toronto at the end of 2020. In the lead-up to their three-Test series against England next year, the Kangaroos are looking at warm-up matches against Super League clubs, and the Wolfpack is one of them.
Sonny Bill Williams
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