Sonny Bill Williams' three-year deal with New Zealand Rugby

The following article features exerts taken from an New Zealand Rugby media release.

Sonny Bill Williams signs three-year deal with New Zealand Rugby through until 2019

The news just got even better for New Zealand Rugby. With the re-signing of many stars up to 2019, one of the prime names on coach Steve Hansen’s list would have been Sonny Bill Williams (SBW) Infamous for code-swapping in the past, and for his managements ability to sign lucrative one-year only deals, this announcement will give fans [and doubters] certainty that the superstar is wearing ‘all black’ in the future.

New Zealand Rugby is delighted to confirm that All Blacks midfielder and All Blacks Sevens player SBW has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby through to the end of the 2019 season.

30-year-old Williams, who has played 33 Tests for the All Blacks, has won two Rugby World Cup medals and this season is playing for the All Blacks Sevens 2016 team in their quest for Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. As well, SBW has also signed with the Blues Investec Super Rugby club for the same period (a change from the Chiefs, who he played for in the last three seasons) and has clauses to continue his boxing career.

NZ Rugby (NZR) Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “This is another very important moment for NZR.  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 NZR 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, particularly with 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 NZR having Sonny available for the next three years.  He is an extraordinarily gifted athlete and thoroughly professional in everything he does.  His re-commitment 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 within 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 franchise for the next three seasons, returning to his roots in Auckland. Umaga said the influence of signing SBW 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.”

SBW will rejoin Umaga, whom he has been coached by previously at Counties-Manukau and Toulon in France. Their chemistry maybe a leading factor in more high-profile names wishing to partner with the ‘winning’ star player–besides Rugby Union success, SBW has won two NRL Premierships, Super Rugby and ITM Cup titles as well as winning (and defending) the NZ Heavyweight Boxing title!

An amazing resume, SBW does have his doubters who presumed that his management would take the ‘millions on offer’ and head for Europe. No, since becoming a father, SBW seems to be making the right choices and NZR must be thankful to benefit from drawing power and continuing name association–think English Premier League/NBA star appeal, in merchandise and in ticket sales. With all that, his doubters may now begin to watch his performance on the field, rather than his prior exploits off it.

It seems that, along with fatherhood and a more settled career, the relationship between Hansen and SBW was pivotal in this decision to sign a three-year deal. His manager Khoder Nasser was known in the past for a ‘unique’ manner of doing business, but as the photo below shows, the managers relationship with NZR and Steve Tew is blossoming. The commercial aspect of sport is as important as the success on the pitch, and SBW certainly has the credentials to back-up a major deal like this.

For now, and for the next three year deal, Sonny Bill is ‘back in Black’.

“Main photo credit”