Money Bill Williams

All Black centre and rugby prodigy Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed that he will be leaving the land of the long white cloud to fulfill an agreement with Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights.

Williams signed a short-term contract with the Top League Japanese  club (more than 1.2 million dollars 15 matches) which commences at the end of the Super Rugby competition before seeing a return to Australia’s National Rugby League for 2013.

The 26-year-old will leave New Zealand at the conclusion of the Super Rugby competition, ruling himself out of the inaugural expanded southern hemisphere championship involving Test matches against South Africa, Australia and Argentina.

Williams would not say which NRL club he would join, though media in Australia and New Zealand have repeatedly said he had reached an agreement with the Sydney Roosters.

Williams, who infamously walked out on a five-year contract with the NRL’s Canterbury Bulldogs in 2008 to switch codes and join French club Toulon, said he felt comfortable with the Waikato Chiefs but had “a handshake agreement” in place with an NRL club and wanted to honour that understanding.

“This is due to a handshake agreement made a few years ago before I even came back to New Zealand with an NRL club,” Williams told a media conference in Hamilton.

“I haven’t signed anything yet and I’m not in a position to elaborate on that (which NRL club he had agreed to join).

“I didn’t think I would have loved it as much as I have back here. To be honest I kind of felt like I’d found my place at the Chiefs … but it just goes back to (the fact) I’ve given someone my word and I’ve had to go on with it even though it was tough.



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