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Sonny Bill Williams said talks with Toronto Wolfpack happened day after RWC loss to England


Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams says discussions about him joining the Toronto Wolfpack took place while he was in Japan - but not until after he and the rest of the squad were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup by England.

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Williams said looking at the deal while the World Cup was still winnable goes against his philosophies. Source: 1 NEWS

At a large press conference in London this morning, Williams says word of his mega-deal with the Canadian Super League club had reached the All Blacks camp while they were pushing for a third-straight title.

But with each friendly jab and joke he took from teammates, he told them he knew nothing about it.

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Williams spoke to 1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Daniel Faitaua about life after signing with the Toronto Wolfpack. Source: 1 NEWS

"That's when I was first made aware of it. Obviously the lads in the teams I've been playing for were giving me stick but I hadn't heard anything from the club," Williams said.

"My manager was speaking to these guys around that time but I said I don't want to hear anything about it because I wouldn't have done myself, New Zealanders or the jersey any justice thinking that way."

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However, that all changed after the 19-7 loss against England in the semi-finals and Williams admits he "started having those conversations" the day after - firstly with his manager, then his wife and then Toronto Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott.

Williams and McDermott had dinner to get a better understanding of each other and allow the coach to pitch his vision and the club's ambition after gaining promotion to the Super League.

"It was awesome sitting down with Brian, it was supposed to be a 30-40 minute catch up and we sat there for over two hours picking each other's brains.

"I loved what he was saying. No disrespect to rugby league but sometimes it can be really monotonous. You know where they are going and where they are going to set up. I really believed in what he was saying.

"I left that meeting thinking not only am I excited about going and playing there but their purpose and what they're trying to achieve as a team."

Williams said he had a chat to another coach while everything was coming together - Steve Hansen.

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"It might have been that [final] week on the training paddock Shag as he does comes up to you 'hey how you going cobber is this news right?'," Williams said.

"I just told him I haven't sat down yet with the coaches but I'm talking to them and if it all goes well it looks like it'll be coming to fruition and I'll be signing."

Originally, Williams had planned to stay in New Zealand for at least another year after the World Cup playing union but when the deal was tabled, he couldn't walk away.

"It all lined up and as a man of faith, I thought it was just meant to be."