Sonny’s raf­fled

South Waikato News - - SPORT -

The chance to get closer to rugby union, league and box­ing star Sonny Bill Wil­liams has been brought to the South Waikato .

A Su­per 15 Chiefs jersey signed by the pop­u­lar sports­man is be­ing raf­fled at $5 a ticket, with pro­ceeds go­ing to­wards the Pu­taruru Rugby Football Club.

Pu­taruru rugby play­ers were vis­ited by Chiefs As­sis­tant coach and All Blacks roy­alty Wayne Smith at their prize­giv­ing last week and heard about the big star, to whom Smith and his wife be­came sur­ro­gate par­ents to dur­ing his time with the Cru­saders.

Smith said he and his wife Tr­ish were sent by the New Zealand Rugby Union to France in 2009 to talk to Sonny Bill Wil­liams about his New Zealand prospects.

‘‘In a square in Toulon, we had a cup of cof­fee and I out­lined ba­si­cally a dream for him about him play­ing for the All Blacks. I also out­lined the kind of money he could make to com­pared to the $1 mil­lion in Toulon.’’

Smith said Wil­liams would’ve loved to be an All Black then but felt he wasn’t at that level. If he did make progress, he would let Smith know.

At that point Smith could not imag­ine ever hear­ing from Sonny Bill Wil­liams again, and told the NZRU so .

How­ever Wil­liams did im­prove and Smith did hear from him.

Smith says that the com­mer­cial team of the NZRU did not see Wil­liams’ po­ten­tial.

Wil­liams and and his man­ager Khoder Nasser did not care about the dif­fer­ence be­tween the Toulon and New Zealand pack­ages, be­cause they would make up the dif­fer­ence through Wil­liams box­ing.

So Wil­liams went to Can­ter­bury, in Smith’s opin­ion, the right place for a rugby ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘He used to come around ev­ery week, eat a meal with us, ev­ery time he’d come he’d bring his book around and we’d have half an hour be­fore tea. He’d ask ques­tions about his game and I’d do a wee bit of re­view on the com­puter for him. He’d write ev­ery­thing down. He’d ask, ‘How do I work on that? How do I work on that?’ Be­cause he was pretty green.’’

Ac­cord­ing to Smith there were a lot of dif­fer­ences in Can­ter­bury, and Wil­liams never felt there was a per­sonal mean­ing in rugby un­til he moved to the Chiefs.

Smith felt the move gave Wil­liams’ tal­ent a place to grow and it changed his mind­set hugely.

‘‘He did ev­ery­thing a pro­fes­sional should do, these young kids would come in and fol­low his lead. They’d eat well, they’d sleep well and go like hell each Satur­day.’’

Sonny Bill Wil­liams loves the game and so does his fa­ther, hav­ing not watched a NRL game for three years.

Tick­ets are $5 each and avail­able through the Pu­taruru Rugby Football Club for an­other two weeks. Contact PRFC Spon­sor­ship man­ager Kim­ber­ley Crocker 0275 275 6082 for fur­ther de­tails.

SONNY BILL WIL­LIAMS: Signed Chiefs Jersey is a raf­fle prize from the Pu­taruru Rugby Club.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.