All Black Williams ready to rumble in Japan
Sonny Bill Williams promised he’d put in the hard yards to repay his mega-bucks transfer to Panasonic.
TOKYO - Boxing All Black Sonny Bill Williams promised on Saturday he would put in the hard yards to repay his mega-bucks transfer to Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights.
The 27-year-centre, who will earn around $1.2 million for his 12 weeks in Japan, sat out Panasonic's 44-13 win over Ricoh Black Rams in their Top League opener in Tokyo.
But Williams liked what he saw from his new team and is itching to make his debut after deciding to accept a lucrative contract to leave the All Blacks and Waikato Chiefs.
"It was a great deal and something I couldn't turn down," Williams told reporters a week after helping New Zealand thrash Australia 22-0 to retain the Bledisloe Cup.
"It was tough being in the stands watching the boys play," added Williams, who is also New Zealand's reigning heavyweight boxing champion.
"I'm going to have to work on my fitness a bit. It was a very fast game and the skill level was a lot higher than I thought it would be."
Williams pledged to prove cynics wrong by providing Panasonic value for their vast outlay in his short spell in Japan.
"My primary focus is to play well for Panasonic and help them go one step further than last year," said Williams, set to pocket $100,000 per appearance in Japan.
He is expected to make his debut for the club, Top League runners-up last year to Suntory Sungoliath, on 9 September against NTT Communications Shining Arcs in Sapporo.