All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams has signed up for another year with New Zealand rugby and is switching his Super Rugby allegiance to the Chiefs.
Former NRL star Williams was coy about his playing future while helping the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup earlier this month, prompting speculation he may head abroad, and possibly even back to rugby league.
The fact he has signed a new deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union for only one year means the speculation will continue to linger in 2012.
Williams joined Super Rugby powerhouse the Crusaders for his first season in New Zealand this year but is leaving their earthquake-hit Christchurch base to link with perennial also-rans the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The NZRU’s Neil Sorensen welcomed his retention.
“He’s a special player who creates some real excitement and interest in the game with his style of rugby.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him create some more excitement in a Chiefs, as well as an All Blacks, jersey next year.”
The deal will allow the aspiring boxer to continue to take part in a limited number of professional bouts.
Williams joins departing All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith in moving to the Chiefs and the franchise’s new coach Dave Rennie is delighted to have the offload king in his squad.
“We’re rapt Sonny’s joining the Chiefs. He had a very good World Cup and his professionalism and work ethic will have a great influence on what is a very young team,” Rennie said.
Williams had tipped off his Twitter followers that he would join the Waikato-based franchise, tweeting “I hear Hamilton is nice”.
Williams is currently en route for a holiday in Panama.
by Buford Balony