Sonny Bill Williams – Career to Date
Beginning in 2004 when he made his debut for NRL Club Canterbury Bulldogs, the career of Sonny Bill Williams is one of the most remarkable sporting stories of the 21st century.
At the age of 19, after just a handful of games with the Bulldogs, Williams became the youngest player to debut for the New Zealand National Rugby League team. That same year also saw the second-rower become the youngest player to take the field in an NRL Grand Final when his Bulldogs took on the Sydney Roosters for the title. The Bulldogs won that Grand Final 16-13, the first accolade of many that would come Williams’ way in the ensuing years. The International Newcomer of the Year Award was also engraved with his name in 2004, sealing a remarkable debut season.
After five years with the Bulldogs, Williams made the switch to Rugby Union, playing for French side Toulon before making his way to New Zealand to join Super Rugby Club Canterbury. In 2011 he signed with the Crusaders and played in the Grand Final with a loss against the Australian side, the Queensland Reds.
2011 saw Williams play a crucial role in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup campaign. The tournament took place in New Zealand and Williams made the right wing his own, scoring four tries across the competition as the All Blacks claimed the title in front of their adoring home crowd.
Williams crossed to the Chiefs ahead of the 2012 Super Rugby season and would go on to score the final try of the Grand Final against his former side, the Crusaders. His celebratory leap into the crowd endures as a truly iconic moment in New Zealand’s sporting history. The victory made Williams just the fourth player in history to hold both an NRL and Super Rugby title, not to mention his Rugby World Cup triumph.
Another NRL title came with Williams’ return to Rugby League, this time with the Sydney Roosters during the 2013 season. He was also awarded the Jack Gibson Medal as the Club’s best player across the year. Since then he has returned to Rugby Union and been a regular member of the New Zealand National Team and the Blues in Super Rugby.
Williams made the squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, held in England, and went on to play in six fixtures, including the quarter-final, semi-final and final. The All Blacks would win the final against Australia, securing yet another medal for the ever-reliable and always improving Williams. In a moment that was seen all around the world, Williams gave his World Cup medal to a 14-year-old fan in the crowd that had been tackled by security guards during the All Blacks lap of honor.
Away from the Rugby field, Williams is the proud owner of a 7-0 professional boxing record that has seen him hold multiple heavyweight titles in the ring. His last fight was in 2015 against the American Chauncy Welliver, a fight that the 6ft 4in Williams won convincingly.
Having recently competed in his third Rugby World Cup, Williams now adds the Toronto Wolfpack to his impressive resume and will have his sights set firmly on Super League success with the recently promoted side. There is not much that Sonny Bill Williams cannot do and Super League fans are going to see the best of the towering superstar in 2020 and beyond.
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS’ HONOURS
2004: International Newcomer of the Year
2012: New Zealand Professional Boxing Association Heavyweight Champion
2012: Players’ Player Award – Chiefs
2013: WBA International Heavyweight Champion
2013: Jack Gibson Medalist – Sydney Roosters’ Player of the Year
2013: RLIF International Second-Rower of the Year
2013: RLIF International Player of the Year
2015: Panathlon International Fair Play Award
2004: NRL Premiership – Canterbury Bulldogs
2011: Bledisloe Cup – New Zealand
2011: Rugby World Cup – New Zealand
2012: Super Rugby Championship – Chiefs
2012: Bledisloe Cup – New Zealand
2013: Minor Premiership – Sydney Roosters
2013: NRL Premiership – Sydney Roosters
2014: World Club Challenge – Sydney Roosters
2014: Minor Premiership – Sydney Roosters
2015: Bulldogs Team of the Decade (2005–2014)
2015: Rugby World Cup – New Zealand
2016: Wellington Sevens Champion – New Zealand
2016: Sydney Sevens Champion -New Zealand
2017: Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship – New Zealand
2019: Bledisloe Cup – New Zealand