Dual international Sonny Bill Williams has signed to play in the National Provincial Championship with the Counties Manukau Steelers.
The Sydney Roosters superstar, who will leave rugby league at the end of the season to return to rugby, has signed a two-year deal with the Ranfurly Shield holders.
The move will reunite Williams with Counties coach Tana Umaga, who was at the French rugby club Toulon and help lure the league sensation there from the Bulldogs in 2008.
“Sonny is an outstanding man, whose work ethic, ability and motivation are exceptional,” Umaga said.
“He will be a great role model to our younger players and an inspiration to the young people of South Auckland.”
The 28-year-old Williams has played 19 tests for the All Blacks, his last coming in 2012.
“I like what is happening at Counties. I know a few boys in the side and enjoyed working with Tana,” he said.
“I have enjoyed my time in Australia and at the end of the season I will be ready for next chapter of my career back in New Zealand.”
Counties Manukau Rugby CEO Andrew Maddock said his organisation was pleased to have pulled off such a coup.
“It is great that a sportsman of Sonny’s caliber has chosen to join us and will open another exciting phase for Counties Manukau rugby,” he said.
Williams will play Super Rugby for the Chiefs for the next two seasons.
Original story on Stuff