Sonny Bill Williams reveals why he switched codes and joined Toronto Wolfpack

Harry Latham-Coyle

Sonny Bill Williams has revealed why he has switched codes to join Toronto Wolfpack.

The former All Blacks star has made a shock return to rugby league after New Zealand were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup in the semi-finals.

Though the £10 million salary Williams will be paid over two seasons immediately draws the eye, the 34-year-old insists he was sold on the Wolfpack’s potential and is keen to help grow the Super League newcomers.

“I need to have that purpose, something to believe in and I think I could be really suited to their style of play,” Williams explained at his unveiling in London.

“We want to turn some heads. It’s going to be a journey and there will be pressure, but it’s going to be really exciting.

Sonny Bill Williams has revealed why he joined Toronto Wolfpack (Getty)

“It’s been a whirlwind because this deal came about in a short space of time, but I feel blessed for this opportunity. What better environment in which to test yourself in?

“As a man of faith, I just feel like this was meant to be. I’m really excited about what lies ahead.

“Wherever I go I know there is a lot of baggage. But I want my club and team-mates to know that I’m coming to work, to perform on the field and do the things behind closed doors people don’t see that allow me to prepare to perform the best I can on the field.”

This is Williams’ third stint in rugby league, having previously played for the Canterbury Bulldogs and Sydney Roosters, lifting an NRL Premiership title with both sides.

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In union he was part of two victorious New Zealand sides at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, and appeared at the 2016 Olympics with the All Blacks Sevens.

He also has an unbeaten record as a professional boxer, winning all seven of his fights, three by knockout.

The Wolfpack were formed in 2016, and are owned by a Canadian consortium fronted by Australian David Argyle, a mining magnate.

They have earned two promotions in three seasons after starting life in the third tier of the league system, and won the Million Pound Game with victory over Featherstone Rovers last month to earn promotion to Super League.

Coached by Brian McDermott, seven times a Super League winner as a player and coach, they begin their first season in the top tier as part of a unique double header at Headingley in February.