Ex-All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams in line for shock career switch

As the end of Sonny Bill Williams’ illustrious playing career draws to a conclusion, the cross-code star reportedly has a new gig lined up on his horizon.


According to a report out of the Sydney Morning Herald, Williams could be in line to become a commentator for both rugby union and rugby league on Australian network Channel 9.

The news comes shortly after the announcement that Channel 9 had acquired rugby union broadcasting rights in a $100m, three-year deal that will see certain Super Rugby AU matches and Wallabies tests broadcast free-to-air in Australia.

Additionally, all Super Rugby AU, Super Rugby Aotearoa, Super W, Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup and Shute Shield matches, among others, will be broadcast live and ad-free via online streaming service Stan Sports.

The SMH reports that Williams, who is without a contract in both league and union, could become the face of that coverage after his $10m, two-year deal with the Toronto Wolfpack in the Super League was cut short due to the implications of COVID-19.

“There have already been seeds planted and a crucial meeting this week will see if all parties are on the same path,” the Herald reported.

“Plenty of hosts work across multiple sports but there are few who can work as expert commentators in more than one.”

Where Williams heads next career-wise will be of plenty of interest in both league and union circles after the Canadian-based Wolfpack were denied re-entry into the UK’s premier rugby league competition as a result of financial and logistical complications.

While the Wolfpack were out of action, Williams returned to Australia for a third stint in the NRL, joining the Sydney Roosters for a brief loan spell at the backend of the season.

The switch looked to be the final chapter of the 35-year-old’s decorated 17-year sporting career, which has seen success follow him everywhere across both rugby codes and in the boxing ring.

With two Rugby World Cup titles from three tournaments, a Super Rugby championship, two NRL crowns with two different clubs, appearances at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics, 58 tests for the All Blacks, 12 caps for the Kiwis and an undefeated seven-bout heavyweight boxing career, the star power Williams would add to Channel 9 is unrivalled.

Furthermore, the resumption of his boxing career against fellow former NRL star Paul Gallen highly-speculated, the SMH suggests Williams’ deal as a commentator could also leverage a pay-per-view boxing broadcast deal with Stan Sport.

Although nothing has yet been confirmed, NRL.com reports that Williams would be open to offers once he recovers from neck surgery on an injury he sustained in the Roosters’ heavy final-round loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.