Former All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams has been confirmed as the next headline name to join Channel Nine’s and streaming service Stan Sport’s all-star rugby commentary lineup in Australia.
The broadcasters confirmed the highly-speculated acquisition of Williams, who announced his retirement from both rugby union and rugby league earlier this week, on Friday.
The 35-year-old will also be part of the broadcaster’s rugby league coverage in addition to his move into full-time professional boxing.
Williams is expected to make his first television appearance since being announced as the newest member of Channel Nine’s commentary team on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven program on Tuesday evening.
Over the course of the season, the 58-test All Blacks and 12-test Kiwis international will bounce between covering both codes, although it is unclear how his role in each sport will be split.
Williams, who won two World Cups and a Super Rugby title in rugby union, will provide opinion and analysis throughout the Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa campaigns before remaining onboard for the international season.
“I’m honoured to have this opportunity to join the Stan Sport team,” Williams said. “Before I decided to step into this space I just asked myself that simple question: ‘Is it going to be challenging?’ And the answer was an overwhelming ‘Yes’.
“I know I represent a lot of young Polynesian boys and young Kiwi boys. We represent so much on the field but when it comes to off the field, we’re not really in this space.
“Just being able to jump into that space and see how we go, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”
The announcement of Williams’ acquisition comes a month after former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and Wallabies legend David Campese were confirmed as two of the newest additions to Channel Nine’s rugby union coverage.
The pair, and Williams, will join a commentary team littered with notable figures, including Sean Maloney, former Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell, All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens, and anchors Roz Kelly and Nick McArdle.
Morgan Turinui, Justin Harrison and Andrew Swain are also on board.
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