Sonny Bill Williams looks set to become the highest paid rugby league player on earth after reportedly signing a $10 million two-year deal with the Toronto Wolfpack.
Media outlets in Britain and Australia are now stating outright that Williams will sign or has signed.
Channel Nine’s Wide World of Sports in Australia says the deal has been signed but there is no other confirmation.
The PA news agency also reported the 34-year-old centre or second-rower is understood to have accepted an offer of a two-year contract from the Canadian club.
The Wolfpack are a newly-promoted Super League outfit and have been reported as looking for a superstar player to bolster their audience pull in a country more known for ice hockey, and increase their chances of winning in the league where most games are played in England.
Williams or SBW as he is known returned just yesterday from the Rugby World Cup in Japan, flying home with the rest of the bronze medal All Blacks.
PA news agency said the offer should be announced before the end of the week, ahead of his unveiling at Canada House in London next week.
As part of the deal, Williams will make history by taking a stake in the club ahead of their move onto the stock market.
Williams will become one of two permitted marquee players, which means that only the first 150,000 pounds ($NZ302,000) of his huge salary will count on the cap.
Williams moved to rugby union in 2010, making appearances for Toulon in France, the Crusaders, the Chiefs and the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan. He has played 54 games for the All Blacks, scoring 13 tries and establishing himself as a hard-running and offloading mid-fielder.
RNZ correspondent Laura McQuillan told Morning Report that the Wolfpack is not confirming the signing.
“I contacted them and they gave me an eight word statement; ‘Nothing has been confirmed yet, to be honest’.”
She said that it was understood the Wolfpack want to make a significant splash with an announcement, taking SBW to England where most of the Wolfpack’s matches will be played.