Popular dual rugby star Sonny Bill Williams has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 35.
The New Zealand native appeared 58 times for the All Blacks, and made 12 appearances for their rugby league side. He last played league with the Sydney Roosters in late 2020.
Williams won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs in 2012. He also featured for Toulon, the Crusaders and the Blues over his club career, with a stint in Japan too.
In rugby league, he played his club rugby early into his career with the Canterbury Bulldogs, before spending a year with the Sydney Roosters before his most recent stint in 2020. He won two NRL premierships over his career.
A massive thankyou to the public & fans for all the support over years. To my many teammates, thanks for the lessons & help along the way. It wasn’t a perfect journey,
but the lessons have helped shape me into the man I’m proud to be off the field today. #AlwaysAlhamdullilah 🤲🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/aECnrTYCJs
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) March 11, 2021
Sonny Bill was a rare physical specimen. Yet for all the amazing tries he scored in both codes, his career will be defined by a moment of charity. After the All Blacks won the 2015 Rugby World Cup at Twickehnham, Williams gifted his World Cup winners medal to a young kid who crashed the pitch in order to congratulate the All Blacks team.
That moment when @SonnyBWilliams gave his RWC winner's medal away to a young fan...
The cross-code superstar has called time on a brilliant rugby career - and what a journey it was! pic.twitter.com/vtienHbSsE
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) March 10, 2021
It was the kind of selfless act that makes young kids worship sports stars. In a frenetic, emotional moment, Williams reacted with incredible warmth and grace.
He scored 65 points over his career with the All Blacks, representing the side at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. His last appearance at a national level came in late 2019.
Aside from his illustrious rugby career, Williams was also known for his venture into boxing. He fought seven professional boxing bouts, winning all of them. It's thought he will try and have another go at this aspect of his career after rugby.
The new journey begins ❤️✊🏽🥊 pic.twitter.com/fo63TlIWd5
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) March 4, 2021