A$9 million offer on Williams' table

Sonny Bill Williams, currently preparing for the World Cup third-place play-off in Japan, is reportedly the subject of a Toronto Wolfpack offer to play in England's Super League. The A$9 million, two-year offer is a record for both codes of rugby.
Sonny Bill Williams, currently preparing for the World Cup third-place play-off in Japan, is reportedly the subject of a Toronto Wolfpack offer to play in England's Super League. The A$9 million, two-year offer is a record for both codes of rugby.PHOTO: REUTERS

WELLINGTON • All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams is reportedly weighing up a blockbuster offer from Canadian outfit Toronto Wolfpack that would make him the highest-paid player in both rugby league and rugby union.

The inside centre is expected to call time on his international career after the World Cup, which will end in disappointing fashion for New Zealand with Friday's third-place play-off against Wales.

The Wolfpack, who won promotion to England's Super League earlier this month, are prepared to pay Williams A$9 million (S$8.4 million) over two years, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The daily said several rugby clubs were also chasing his signature, but could not match the mega-money offer - a record for both codes.

Citing unnamed sources, the daily claimed the bidding war was too rich for clubs in Australia's National Rugby League, where Williams began his career with the Bulldogs.

The Wolfpack have made no secret of their desire to recruit one of rugby's most recognisable players and have the funds to do it thanks to mining magnate David Argyle. Based in Canada, the ocean-hopping Wolfpack compete in England and the owner's ambition is to give them a global profile.

Having won two World Cups, and numerous Bledisloe Cups and Rugby Championship titles, Williams, 34, has the star power he craves and the Australian-born millionaire hailed him earlier this year as "box office" and a player who "puts bums on seats".

Argyle also told Fox Sports Australia in February: "He is rugby's LeBron James and we see his recruitment as bigger than when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy."

  • 57 Tests for New Zealand player Sonny Bill Williams since his debut in 2010. He is expected to call time on his international career after this Rugby World Cup.

Asked about his future in the wake of New Zealand's semi-final 19-7 mauling at the hands of England, Williams, who has been injury-prone of late, was non-committal, saying only a decision would be made "soon".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline 'A$9 million offer on Williams' table'. Print Edition | Subscribe