Sonny Bill Williams has signed a deal with the NZRU and will fight for an All Blacks’ spot next season.
Williams confirmed the deal, which expires at the end on 2011, on Thursday but he did not reveal which province he will represent.
‘My first decision has been to commit to New Zealand and I’ve done that today. The next step will be to decide on a province and I’ll decide that closer to my return to New Zealand early next month,’ said Williams.
‘I’m coming home to pursue my childhood dream and work towards earning an All Blacks jersey. The first priority after choosing a province will be to focus on settling into New Zealand rugby and preparations for the New Zealand Cup.’
Considering former All Black Tana Umaga was the biggest influence in Williams’ return to NZ rugby, the player is expected to sign for Counties-Manukau, where Umaga is an assistant coach, and the Crusaders.
Williams turned down a reported $6 million contract with French club Toulon to play in New Zealand, for a contract that’s worth $550 000 per season. The rugby league convert is set to settle in the midfield, either at inside or outside centre.