ALL BLACKS STAR Sonny Bill Williams arrived in Japan on Thursday for the next stage of his colourful career, boosting the profile of the game in the country ahead of its hosting of the 2019 World Cup.
The centre, who was part of the All Blacks line-up that crushed Australia 22-0 last weekend, will play with 2010 Top League champions the Panasonic Wild Knights.
Coach Norifumi Nakajima said it was exciting to have a player of Williams’ calibre on board.
“I’m really happy that Sonny Bill Williams, one of the best centre backs in the world, has joined the Panasonic Wild Knights this season,” he said, according to the club’s website.
I think his performance will have a great impact not only for the Wild Knights but also the Japanese rugby world.
I’m sure that he will help us to make further progress. He will be a great help to regain the titles of the Top League and the national championships.
The 27-year-old Williams, a World Cup winner, helped his Waikato Chiefs to the Super League title last year as well as bagging a host of national caps for his native New Zealand.
However, the All Blacks’ policy of only selecting players who ply their trade in New Zealand will likely put an end to his international career, for the time being at least.
Williams is also the reigning New Zealand Boxing Association heavyweight champion.
(c) AFP, 2012