Sonny Bill Williams has revealed the moment he told All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that he was leaving New Zealand to join the Toronto Wolfpack.

Williams made his first public appearance after signing a reported $10 million contract with the Canadian league side, a deal that would make him the highest paid player in both rugby union and league.

The 34-year-old said he didn't want to know about any deals going on behind the scenes during the Rugby World Cup so that he could focus on his campaign with the All Blacks.

But shortly after the All Blacks' semifinal loss to England, Williams said he was filled in about the offer from Toronto – news that he eventually broke to Hansen at training.


"My manager was speaking to these guys around that time but for me, I said I don't want to hear anything about it because I wouldn't have done myself, New Zealanders or the jersey any justice in thinking that way," Williams said at his media unveiling. "So as soon as the England game finished or the next day, I caught up with my manager and then he filled me in. What a grateful and blessed opportunity it is."

CEO of Toronto Wolfpack, Sonny Bill Williams and Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott. Photo / Getty
CEO of Toronto Wolfpack, Sonny Bill Williams and Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott. Photo / Getty

Williams said Hansen had heard reports of the deal and asked him about it during a training session.

"I think it might have been that week on the training paddock, Shags (Hansen), as he does, comes up to you and says 'how you going cobber, is this news right'? And I just told him 'well I haven't sat down as of yet with the coaches but I'm talking to them. And if all goes well it looks like it'll all be coming to fruition. I'll be signing'. And that was that."

The cross-code superstar, who decided to take a sly dig at the media, said the decision to agree to the deal was simple.

"I think you guys tend to build it up because I know you guys got to have the clickbait and the big headlines and what not but for myself it's a pretty straight forward formula.

"For me, I'm a sportsman, I've got to be where my feet are, I've got to be the best sportsman I can be today. Anything that I can push to the side I will but then when it's time to get it done, well let's go."