Sonny Bill Williams hangs up boots, wants to focus on boxing

WELLINGTON (AFP) – Dual-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams announced his retirement from rugby yesterday but the New Zealander isn’t giving up on sport, saying he now wants to concentrate on his boxing career.

Williams, 35, a two-time Rugby World Cup winner, confirmed he would no longer play rugby league for Australia’s National Rugby League outfit the Sydney Roosters.

“A massive thank you to the public and fans for all the support over years. To my many teammates, thanks for the lessons and help along the way,” he tweeted.

“It wasn’t a perfect journey, but the lessons have helped shape me into the man I’m proud to be off the field today.”

Williams won World Cups in 2011 and 2015 with the All Blacks, as well as numerous Bledisloe Cup titles against Australia and Rugby Championships. He also won NRL premierships in 2004 and 2013, represented New Zealand in rugby sevens at the 2016 Olympics and won all seven of his professional heavyweight boxing bouts, including a New Zealand title belt.

In rugby union, Williams played in the centres and was renowned for his miracle one-handed offloads and fierce tackling.