Super Rugby

Blues sign Sonny-Bill Williams for three years

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Auckland based Super Rugby franchise the Blues have signed two time Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams for the next three Super Rugby seasons.

New Zealand Rugby today with Williams to commit to the All Blacks and to the Blues through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Blues Head Coach Tana Umaga said Williams’ influence will be significant for the club both on and off the field.

“Sonny is a marquee international player, and first and foremost he is here to play. His experience and expertise will be a major asset to a young backline.

“Off the field he brings leadership and a thoroughly professional attitude and approach that will hugely benefit our club and our players.”

Blues Chief Executive Michael Redman said the announcement is significant for the organisation.

“In our view Sonny is one of the most prized signatures in rugby right now.

“This announcement is a further reflection that we are moving in the right direction, that Sonny relishes the challenge and opportunity to help us realise our ambitions and believes we have the environment, coaching and direction to achieve them.”

On their Twitter account the Chiefs said, “The Chiefs wish Sonny Bill Williams all the best for his move north to join the Blues”

“We certainly understand his reasons for deciding to base himself in Auckland and he goes with our full blessing.”

Thirty-year-old Williams, who has played 33 Tests for the All Blacks, won two Rugby World Cup medals and played in six tournaments for the All Blacks Sevens team.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “This is another very important moment for New Zealand Rugby. We would like to, firstly, thank Sonny for his commitment and the manner in which this negotiation has been conducted.”

“We know our top players have choices regarding where they play their footy and for him to sign a three-year deal with us shows he is truly motivated and excited about the opportunity and challenge of being remembered as a great All Black. He has also brought that passion and professionalism into the All Blacks Sevens team since making his debut with them this year.

“There is no doubt that he is a very special person. Since first signing with New Zealand Rugby back in 2010, he has made a significant impact, not only on the field but off the field as well. He is a huge star with particularly our younger fans and has been an inspiration to a whole generation of kids who, like Sonny, love the game of rugby.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen added: “It’s great news for New Zealand Rugby having Sonny available for the next three years. He is an extraordinarily gifted athlete and thoroughly professional in everything he does. His recommitment will bring a stability to the midfield and will allow us to build a world-class centre combination. Sonny’s professionalism, both on and off the field, will not only be an asset to his fellow midfielders, but also the rest of the team.”

“Sonny is part of the new leadership group in the All Blacks and it’s good to know that he’ll be contributing in that role over the next three years,” Hansen added.

“He’s currently one of the best players in the world. His understanding of the game is now allowing him to play instinctively and I believe he’ll only get better and better. He could end up being one of the greats of our game,” Hansen said.

Blues Head Coach Tana Umaga is delighted that Williams will play for the club for the next three seasons, returning to his roots in Auckland.

Umaga said his influence will be significant for the club, both on and off the field.

“First and foremost, he is coming to the Blues to play. But he brings leadership and a thoroughly professional attitude that will hugely benefit our club and our players, especially the young players.”

Sonny Bill Williams joins All Blacks teammates Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu and Dane Coles who have all signed deals through to 2019.

 

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