How long have we got... grab a coffee and read about the life of this elite athlete, with a CV as long as one of his lanky arms!
Sonny Bill Williams has been earmarked as a star from a very young age, right back at primary school where he was an athletics star and had to play rugby in grades above his age. He's never let anyone down, having the following achievements under his belt (2013):
- NRL debut with the Bulldogs at only 18 years of age
- Kiwis debut later the same year, still only 18 years of age, and the youngest ever to pull on the jersey.
- All Black debut in November 2010.
- Member of the All Blacks squad to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup
- Key member of the Chiefs, 2012 Super Rugby Champion team.
- Current NZ Professional Boxing Association Heavyweight Champion, and current WBA International Heavyweight Champion.
Williams started his career as a highly successful Rugby League player, becoming a superstar in the game with the Bulldogs. Then early in a contract he caused controversy when in 2008 he walked out and left to play rugby in France for Toulon. He cut his teeth with this game in 2008 - 2010 under the careful guidance of Tana Umaga, before turning down what was reported as the biggest paycheck ever offered to chase his dreams of becoming an All Black.
Back in New Zealand Sonny Bill joined up with the 2010 Canterbury NPC side which then carried through to the Crusaders in 2011. He was a little raw, however his class was immediately obvious, with driving runs and an entirely new level of offloads introduced to the game. Off the field he was also very generous, having donated $100,000 of his own money to the Christchurch earthquake support fund.
At the end of the year he was rushed into the All Blacks, possibly motivated with a mix of potential and desire to keep in in the NZ rugby mix. At this level he wasn't an immediate stand-out, but certainly was never shamed.
During 2011 Sonny Bill matured as a powerful centre, but remained second choice to Ma'a Nonu at the elite level. He took a solid part in the 2011 World Cup victory, but was never given real opportunity to show his wares in the biggest games.
In 2012 he joined with the Chiefs, and in this year set the world alight. The Chiefs flourished, being crowned Super Rugby champions and Williams' partnership with Aaron Cruden was second to none. He also served as a high quality All Black, really only hampered by niggling injuries. Given more time in the game it was probable that he'd have 'legend' stamped next to his name.
In 2013 Williams opted to return to Rugby League, honoring a 'handshake agreement' from previous years.
All through his recent professional career he's also made time to tackle professional boxing. After 6 fights he remains unbeaten, including taking on the 'White Buffalo' Botha from South Africa.
In the middle of 2013 Sonny Bill Williams is proving to be a standout performer in the NRL with the Roosters, and rumours continue to grind that he'll make a comeback to rugby once more, in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. There is much more to unfold around this man.