Sonny Bill Williams signs with the Blues for three years

Sonny Bill Williams revealed family played a major part in his decision to sign with the Blues over the Chiefs.

Williams confirmed this morning he had signed a three-year deal with New Zealand Rugby and will play for the Blues next season. He is presently committed to New Zealand's Olympic sevens campaign, meaning he hasn't played Super Rugby this year.

The 30-year-old has a young daughter and hopes to have more children and having family support was a major factor in his decision.

"I am an Auckland boy and feel like I am coming home," Williams said.

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"One of the biggest factors is my young family. I want to have more kids and it's not just about me.. We travel a lot and my wife needs support.

"My wife doesn't have any family here and most of my family are in Auckland.

That weighed a lot on my decision. And it's no secret me and Tana [Umaga] go way back."


Umaga was coach of Toulon when Williams first switched from rugby league in 2008 and was very influential in the formative years of his rugby career. He took over at the Blues this season.

Williams played two seasons with the Chiefs, winning the title with them in 2012, and is still strictly contracted to them and can play for them around his sevens commitments. The franchise were keen to have him back but the midfielder opted for the Blues.

One of the biggest factors is my young family. I want to have more kids and it's not just about me.
Sonny Bill Williams

"I had a couple of really great years down there [at the Chiefs]," he said. "It was a really hard decision to turn my back on them, especially the opportunity to play outside Aaron Cruden and with guys like Sammy Cane."


Williams, who has played 33 tests and won two Rugby World Cup winners medals, has a clause in his contract which allows him to box professionally but also play sevens, saying the opportunity to play other sports or forms of rugby left him mentally rejuvenated.

"I have the option to play some sevens or have a boxing bout in the off-season to get me right."

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

He indicated to his manager Khoder Nasser after last year's World Cup he wanted to stay with New Zealand Rugby, despite offers to switch back to league or take up a lucrative deal in Europe.

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"The coach gave me a call after the World Cup and said how exciting things were looking ahead for the All Blacks. He told me I was a big part of his plans. When you hear the best coach every in the 15-man game tell you are part of his plans, it means a lot. Straight after the call I got in touch with my manager and said this is where I want to stay."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was delighted New Zealand Rugby had secured Williams for another three years.

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"I think it's a great decision," Hansen said. "To have a player of Sonny's ability, he's a freakish athlete and is one of the best if not the best in the world in his position. We saw at the World Cup he made a difference every time he played.

"He now has a really big role for us coming on board for three years to develop other people around him. When he finishes, he will be on of the greats of the game. He's got plenty of rugby left in him."

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- NZ Herald

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