Sonny Bill confirms move to Japan (VIDEO)
Mon, 09 Jul 2012 11:50a.m.
By 3 News online staff
All Black Sonny Bill Williams has announced that he will be playing his rugby in Japan for club side Panasonic.
He opened the press conference in Hamilton today by thanking the NZRU, his Chiefs coach, teammates and the media, before conceding “… I’m nervous”.
“It’s a pretty big occasion today, not just in my sporting career but … in my life,” he said.
Williams announced he will be leaving New Zealand after the 2012 Super Rugby season and will not return in 2013.
“This is due to a handshake agreement made a few years ago with an NRL club.
“I am not in a position to elaborate on that… I’d appreciate if you’d respect my wishes.”
The lucrative Japanese deal with powerhouse Panasonic Wild Knights has been reported to be worth $1.7 million for 12 games, and Williams, prior to today’s announcement, had already featured among a list of registered players for the 2013 season in the Japanese Top League.
After his Japanese stint, Williams’ five-year ban from NRL will have expired, leaving the door open for a return to rugby league in Australia
It is thought he will sign with the Sydney Roosters.
SBW received the ban in 2008 after walking out on the Canterbury Bulldogs mid-season to switch codes and play rugby union in France for Toulon.
It’s been reported his return to rugby league will net him a contract worth $640,000, though it’s believed the deal with the club has yet to be finalised.
The shift announced today will mean he will not play for the All Blacks in the upcoming Bledisloe Cup clashes with the Wallabies or in the Rugby Championship, which replaces the Tri Nations.
The offer from the Japanese club for Williams’ services is the largest that Panasonic had made for a player, surpassing the $YS1.1 million for South African Jacque Fourie, with his contract also having room to continue with boxing – the New Zealand Heavyweight champion expected to step back into the ring this November.
Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and it’s expected that Williams will be heavily involved in the promotion of the competition in the country.
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9/07/2012 11:10:52 p.m.
I remember a conference I had at uni for one of my papers related to some of the legal aspects of sports. I do remember about the the player's association top guy talking about player's contracts which he literally defined as "business relationships" rather than mere contracts.
People...get over the whole SBW issue...PROFESSIONAL SPORT IS ABOUT THE MONEY. Full stop.
The only main difference is that he is doing it while he is young rather than at the end of his career.
9/07/2012 7:02:25 p.m.
Kay Bason wrote:
Oh No didn't anybody tell him about radiation in Japan, hope they are paying him heaps to endanger his health, don't take your family. Shocking.
9/07/2012 6:52:43 p.m.
This is why i never bother with most sports, because at the end of the day they are just playing for a paycheck.
Of course im not blaming the players, they are just doing whats in their best interests, good on them they should look after themselfs first.
That said stuff putting them on a pedestal when most of them really are just there play well and earn big money.
9/07/2012 6:08:19 p.m.
Is sonny bill Williams so Important that it is top news. I certainly don't think so.
9/07/2012 12:44:46 p.m.
Kia kaha. All the best Sonny. I am a female (not quite 80) and you have given me a lot. You encourage me. I am inspired by the so many things you say and do. Thank you Sonny. Remember it its simplest terms you are just "changing bus companies". We will always love and support you in everything you do. It has been a blessing to have you play for our teams. I feel truly blessed to have followed you. I wish for you a prosperous, happy and fulfilled future. I got to like watching rugby from watching you. May peace be with you Sonny, always.
9/07/2012 12:41:13 p.m.
Before all the haters get on here.sonny has a lot off burnt bridges in australia and hey lets face it the kiwis could do with sonny for the world cup next year
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