Sonny Bill Williams to play for Counties Manukau
June 16, 2014
Sonny Bill Williams will reunite with former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga and play for Counties Manukau in New Zealand's ITM Cup after signing a two-year deal with the Ranfurly Shield holders.
Sonny Bill Williams is leaving Sydney Roosters and rugby league at the end of the 2014 NRL premiership © Getty Images
The dual international, 29, won the 2011 Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks and the 2012 Super Rugby title with the Chiefs before returning to rugby league, in which code he helped Sydney Roosters win the 2013 National Rugby League premiership.
He confirmed in December that he would return to rugby union at the end of this season after signing a two-year agreement with New Zealand Rugby.
"I have enjoyed my time in Australia and at the end of the season I will be ready for next chapter of my career back in New Zealand," Williams said.
Steelers coach Umaga, who played with Williams at French Top 14 club Toulon, hoped the signing would be a boost for young players in the region.
"Sonny is an outstanding man, whose work ethic, ability and motivation are exceptional," Umaga said. "He will be a great role model to our younger players and an inspiration to the young people of south Auckland."
Williams, who has one eye on playing Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will play Super Rugby for the Chiefs.
He has played 19 rugby Tests for the All Blacks and appeared 12 times for New Zealand's international rugby league team.