Sonny Bill Williams, done with the All Blacks, will join the Toronto Wolfpack on a two-year deal reportedly for $10 million, making him the highest paid player in rugby anywhere in the world.
Ten million is almost NBA money and it is certainly NFL money, at least for some on the lower-paid positions.
Toronto is playing its first season in the top tier of the English Super League after beginning in 2017 as a third-tier club in League 1.
Canada is a huge market for rugby fans, trailing only Australia, France, New Zealand and the U.K. in terms of followers.
Williams is 34 and if there were ever a professional footballer who deserved one last chance to cash the big cheque, it would be SBW.
He could have got nothing near $10 million playing in the NRL, although some clubs expressed an interest.
Signing with a newer club reminds us of MLS bringing in David Beckham for some star power. Toronto coach Brian McDermott said as much.
Williams has played all over the place.
He made 118 NRL appearances in two stints, from 2004 – 2008 with the Canterbury Bulldogs. He left for a spell, and then returned in 2013 to play for the Chooks.
SBW has played in France and Japan, and has played a lot of union football.
Wolfpack owner David Argyle had almost an entire side of superstars as targets, with Williams as the bullseye.
Argyle has since removed himself from the leadership position he held with the club as chairman and chief executive after copping to directing a racist slur at a visiting English player.
Our first inclination was to doubt that a Canadian would offend anyone for any reason, until we found out that Argyle made his fortune extracting minerals in Australia, that is, he is/was a miner.
The addition of Williams will find him joining his fellow New Zealander Bodene Thompson (from Warrington).