Did you hear who’s about to become the richest man in world rugby?
Weeks after helping New Zealand tear Ireland a new one, Sonny Bill Williams is heading back to rugby league via a brief stopover playing rugby union in Japan.
Earlier this week, it was rumoured that the All-Blacks centre, who also won the New Zealand heavyweight boxing championship in his spare time, was being lined up for a move back to rugby league, which he had played for five season with Canterbury and New Zealand before moving to Union in 2008.
It seems as if the rumours are true, as the Sydney Telegraph are reporting that Williams is to sign for the Sydney Roosters in a bizarre deal that will see him play ten games in Japan and also allow him to fit in a couple of heavyweight boxing fights. All in all, Williams stands to take in over $2 million in 12 months, more than any rugby player in Australia and New Zealand and, we’re pretty certain, the world.
Before joining the Roosters, Sonny Bill will visit the latest outpost in his well-travelled rugby career to date to play for a Japanese side known as Panasonic, who will pay him $800,000 for ten games, or in and around $80,000 per game. Nice work if you can get it, I think you’ll agree.
Due to his renowned dislike for putting pen to paper on long-term deals, a return to Rugby Union isn’t out of the question, and it is being suggested that the man with probably the most effective one-handed offload in rugby could return to the All-Blacks for the defence of their World Cup title in 2015.
By that stage, Williams will have just turned 30 years old and barring any setbacks between now and then he’ll still have plenty to offer, but his youth is a sobering thought considering how much he’s packed into his eventful career to date.
What’s even more sobering is the prospect of him repeating what he did to Ireland, particularly during the humiliating third test last month, at the next World Cup, but at least we don’t have to worry about that for a few years yet.