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SBW makes losing league return

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Sonny Bill Williams' Toronto Wolfpack debut ends in defeat

Former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has made a losing return to rugby league in his Super League debut with the Toronto Wolfpack in England.

The 34-year-old came off the bench 26 minutes into the Wolfpack’s season-opener against Castleford at Headingley, but the Canadian club’s first-ever outing in the Super League finished in defeat as they succumbed to a 28-10 loss.

At the time of Williams’ introduction to the match, the Wolfpack trailed by 10-6, but his involvement in the clash wasn’t able to turn his team’s fortunes.

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The former rugby union midfielder signed a blockbuster two-year deal worth NZ$10m with the Toronto side last November, and said he expects improved performances moving forward.

“It didn’t go to plan but at the end of the day, that’s the game of footy. You win some and you lose some,” Williams said.

“It didn’t go our way but if I look at it from an individual point of view then I know I worked hard and if I continue to do that then the rest will come.

“It’s a long season and I’m just happy to be here.”

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The fixture marks Williams’ first foray in the 13-man code in six years after he left the NRL’s Sydney Roosters to rejoin the All Blacks in 2014.

The 58-test international added a second World Cup crown to the one he gained in 2011 a year after returning to XVs, made a brief appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics with the All Blacks Sevens and turned out for both the Chiefs and Blues at Super Rugby level during his second stint in union, which lasted five years.

However, Williams feels right at home after completing his long-awaited return to rugby league, where he has won two NRL titles and played in 12 tests for the Kiwis.

“I’ve got something to work on, a good base. I am feeling really good,” he said.

“They were looking to play me for 20 or 30 minutes but I was feeling really good out there.

“From a team point of view I am very disappointed but individually I’m just glad I got back out there and got a taste of it and started to get my rhythm.”

Williams will miss next week’s match against Salford in Manchester as he intends to return to New Zealand for the birth of his fourth child, but expects to only be out of action for one week.

The Wolfpack aren’t scheduled to make a home appearance on Canadian soil until mid-April, when they host Hull FC at Lamport Stadium in round 11.

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Sonny Bill Williams' Toronto Wolfpack debut ends in defeat
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