Wild Knights for SBW

Sonny Bill Williams will leave the Chiefs for Japan's Wild Knights.
Sonny Bill Williams will leave the Chiefs for Japan's Wild Knights. David Rogers

SONNY Bill Williams would prefer not to leave the Chiefs and All Blacks for club rugby in Japan, but said he must honour a handshake agreement made in France three years ago.

The 17-test All Black, who is just starting to reach his potential as a rugby player following his time in the NRL with the Canterbury Bulldogs, will leave for the Panasonic Wild Knights after his Chiefs commitments finish this year.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Williams revealed he had shaken hands on the deal with a Panasonic official before he left French rugby club Toulon for New Zealand to try his hand at being an All Black.

His deal with the Japanese club is thought to be worth about $NZ1.5 million for 12 games. He will then return to the NRL, probably with the Sydney Roosters, although he refused to confirm that yesterday because he said he hadn't signed a contract.

Williams will not play in this year's Rugby Championship against Australia, South Africa and Argentina, but said he hadn't closed the door to the All Blacks.

"One day I would love to come back, but in saying that I'm not going to hold my breath," he said. "I've chosen my path and now I've got to walk it."

Williams, also the New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion, plans to have his next fight in November - during his stint in Japan.

Topics:  all blacks chiefs sonny bill williams

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

On the verge of history

Brooks Pleasure, won Race 1 at Callaghan Park.

Brook's Pleasure is making history at Callaghan Park.

Extend Valentine's this year

HAPPY VALENTINES: The Emerald Outside School Hours Care is holding a Valentine's Ball tomorrow night.

Support local organisations through this years' valentine's ball.

Coles turns teal for charity

ON BOARD: Jeremy Kwong, Rhoa Banta, Robyn Stanton, Hayden Smale and Bec Reynolds from Coles Emerald are turning teal in February to help fight ovarian cancer.

Emerald Coles turns teal in support of ovarian cancer.

Local Partners