Just months after reports spread that a Canadian Rugby League team was going all out to sign Sonny Bill Williams, a new seemingly unlikely transfer rumour is doing the rounds.
In February it was revealed that Williams has been reportedly offered a NZ$5m one year deal to return to rugby league with the Toronto Wolfpack.
The billionaire behind the team – David Argyle – told Fox Sports at the time that: “We are working towards making Sonny Bill Williams a Wolfpack player for 2020. We would love to have him join the Wolfpack family and we will pay whatever it takes to make that happen,” said Argyle.
However, there have been no new developments on that front, and a new rugby league team has entered the fray to sign the All Black superstar.
A source has told RugbyPass that Super League club the Catalan Dragons have put Williams at the top of their wishlist, and the move might not be as outrageous as it first sounds.
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Steve McNamara – the current head coach of Catalan Dragons – coached Williams when he was an assistant coach at NRL side the Sydney Roosters in 2014.
McNamara is also a huge fan of Williams, telling the Guardian in 2014 that: “We get on great. We had a Roosters golf day and I was fortunate to be Sonny Bill’s partner. We spent four hours on a buggy chatting to each other. He’s an outstanding athlete – and very humble as well.”
More recently McNamara penned a column in The Times extolling the virtues of the code-hopper’s offloading game.
It may be irrelevant, but the South of France may hold a special resonance for Williams. The Dragons are based in Perpignan, not far from Toulon, where the impression left on Williams by a Tunisian family would ultimately lead the All Black to Islam.
The club is not without ambition either. Last month the Dragons showed their intent with the signature of 6’5, 20 stone NRL prop Sam Kasiano from the Melbourne Storm.
However, Dragons will have to fight off global interest from both codes of rugby.
According to a report by Nine Wide World of Sports, the Bulldogs and Sonny Bill Williams have engaged in informal talks about a potential return to the club, albeit one he infamously walked out on in 2008.
The report states that Williams has kept ties with the club and was due to present the players with their jerseys in Auckland last weekend before the events of Friday took precedent. A return to the Bulldogs would bring Williams career back to where he started in 2004, debuting as a professional footballer at 19-year-old.
Toulon have also made no secret of their desire to resign Williams, although the fallout over the treatment of ex-All Black and SBW teammate Julian Savea at the club may have put pay to that.
Eitherway, the centre will be focused on retaining his place in the All Blacks set, as he bids to see off the Super Rugby form of Blues teammate Ma’a Nonu, who kept him on the bench during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
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