Umaga the reason for Williams departure - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Umaga the reason for Williams departure

By Steve Jancetic 08/08/2008 06:29:45 AM Comments (0)

Runaway Bulldog Sonny Bill Williams claims his decision to join French rugby club Toulon came down to a couple of words - and they weren't `two million'.

Tana Umaga.

"Simple as that, everything added up," Williams said of the former All Black and Toulon coach in a interview with the Nine network's The Footy Show.

"Ex-rugby league player, rugby league convert, All Black captain, Samoan heritage, icon of the game.

"It sums it up really."

Williams believes working alongside Umaga will best help him achieve his ultimate goal, which is to emulate the former All Black great in pulling on the famous black jumper.

Umaga grew up playing rugby league before switching to rugby union in 1994, and he went on to forge a brilliant career in which he played 74 Tests for New Zealand, including 21 as captain.

It's a path Williams is keen to follow after agreeing to a reported two-year $2 million deal with newly promoted Toulon.

"There's a lot of achievement, a lot of goals that I've set myself," Williams said.

"You know, I'm with an icon, Tana Umaga who I really think I can learn a lot from, and I want to play for the All Blacks one day, so that keeps me motivated.

"One day I want to be the best centre, because that's the position I want to play. I want to be the best centre in the world."

As the rules currently stand, Williams would have to link with a New Zealand Super 14 franchise by the start of the 2011 season in order to play for the Kiwis in the World Cup later that year.

Williams has had just two training sessions with his new side and is expected to be in the line-up when Toulon play their opening pre-season game against Heyres early Saturday morning Australian time.

And he admitted he had a long way to go before playing for the All Blacks could become a reality.

"I've got a lot of hard work and a lot of things I need to accomplish before then," Williams said.

"I've got to be very dedicated, and like I said, a lot of hard work."

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