NZR chairman pays tribute to Sonny Bill Williams ahead of reported league return

Sonny Bill Williams' legacy within New Zealand Rugby has been recognised, with NZR chairman Brent Impey paying tribute to the midfielder's career today.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The All Blacks star is said to be close to a move to Toronto Wolfpack. Source: 1 NEWS

At the age of 34, Williams has played his final Test in the black jersey, signalling that the All Blacks' third place playoff victory over Wales at the Rugby World Cup was his last at international level.

What's more, Williams is seemingly on the brink of returning to rugby league - a multi-million-dollar deal with Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack reportedly being finalised by the cross-code star.

Addressing media in Auckland today, Impey was asked for his reflections on what Williams has given to the game in New Zealand - a winner of two World Cups, multiple Rugby Championships and Bledisloe Cups, as well as two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs.

"If he does take that deal, and that's up to him to decide, we would wish him all the best," Impey said.

"What he leaves is, I think, a real legacy. Personally, I've got a huge amount of time for him.

"After the [March 15] mosque attacks, I rang him to see his availability, and he was straight down to Chirstchiurch and showed real leadership.

"Within the All Blacks group, he is a real leader, he brings a great set of values to the group. We hold him in high regards."

Impey also added that he expects Williams to continue to have an influence on the game in New Zealand, despite his playing career winding down.

"If he takes this job in Toronto and his playing career finishes, I believe - and I don't know what role - he has things to offer New Zealand, and New Zealand Rugby.

"I'm not saying as a player. I hold him in very high regard. He brings a lot to the table off the field."

Elsewhere, Williams has also been linked with a potential mentoring role with former NRL side the Sydney Roosters.