“Be grateful, be vulnerable, but have mad work ethic – you’ll be a success in whatever you want to do” says Sonny Bill Williams as he openly speaks about the contents of his autobiography Can’t Stop the Sun from Shining.
Williams delivered a warm, thoughtful and incredibly insightful interview on New Zealand’s rugby show The Breakdown. During the interview Williams is questioned on the book, but holistically speaks about topics that pertain to rugby and sport, yet so transcend them.
A devout Islam, Williams speaks of the values intrinsic in his household growing up, which he identified within the religion too, referring to the treatment of others, gratitude and equality among humans. He speaks of the way in which the religion allowed for a system within which to rediscover those values in a tumultuous time in his early rugby career.
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) October 19, 2021
Williams also speaks openly about the environment in which he was raised, and the effect it had on both his revolutionary style of rugby but also his navigation of a professional environment.
There is such power in Williams’ message, but such humility in his delivery of it. A simple description doesn’t do justice to what is an interview worth watching. Catch it on Rugby Pass’ Youtube Channel (link below).
DID YOU KNOW?
Sonny Bill Williams says winning the New Zealand heavyweight boxing title eclipsed anything he achieved during a stellar cross-code rugby career, in an interview with BBC.
The 36-year-old won World Cups with the All Blacks in 2011 and 2015 and helped the Kiwis reach the 2013 final of the rugby league equivalent.
Williams switched between league and union during his 17-year career, winning NRL titles with the Bulldogs and Sydney Roosters and the 2012 Super Rugby title with the Chiefs.
Aside from his World Cup victories with the All Blacks, he was also involved in the side that drew the 2017 series against the touring British and Irish Lions. He played his last game of rugby league with the Roosters in the semi-final loss to the Canberra Raiders in the 2020 NRL play-offs.
“Winning the New Zealand heavyweight title belt was amazing. I didn’t grow up boxing. It was so unfamiliar for me. It started off through necessity because I had to pay bills but it lit a fire inside me that I could never put out and it accumulated in me thinking I would try and win that belt. I did it and it was awesome,” said Williams.
Williams is undefeated in eight professional fights.
- 2004: International Newcomer of the Year
- 2004: World XIII
- 2004: Samoan Sports Association Junior Sportsman of the Year
- 2005: Nickelodeon Australian Kids’ Choice Awards “Fave Rising Star”
- 2012: New Zealand Professional Boxing Association (NZPBA) Heavyweight Champion
- 2012: Chiefs players’ player award
- 2013: WBA International Heavyweight Champion
- 2013: Jack Gibson Medalist – Sydney Roosters’ Player of the Year
- 2013: No.9 in AskMen‘s Top 49 Most Influential Men (2013 edition)
- 2013: RLIF International Second-rower of the Year
- 2013: RLIF International Player of the Year
- 2015: Panathlon International Fair Play Award
- 2004: NRL Premiership with the Bulldogs
- 2010: Ranfurly Shield winner with Canterbury
- 2010: ITM Cup winner with Canterbury
- 2011: Bledisloe Cup winner with New Zealand
- 2011: Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand
- 2012: Super Rugby winner with the Chiefs
- 2012: Bledisloe Cup winner with New Zealand
- 2013: Minor Premiership with the Sydney Roosters
- 2013: NRL Premiership with the Sydney Roosters
- 2014: World Club Challenge winner with the Sydney Roosters
- 2014: Minor Premiership with the Sydney Roosters
- 2015: Bulldogs Team of the Decade (2005–2014) – as a back-rower
- 2015: Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand
- 2016: Wellington Sevens Champion with New Zealand
- 2016: Sydney Sevens Champion with New Zealand
- 2017: Won British & Irish Lions tour game with the Blues
- 2017: Drawn British & Irish Lions Test series with New Zealand
- 2017: Won Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship with New Zealand
- 2017: Won Dave Gallaher Trophy with New Zealand
- 2019: Won Freedom Cup with New Zealand
- 2019: Won Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand
Williams played 140 Rugby League matches, including 12 Tests for the Kiwis and 169 Rugby Union matches, including 58 Tests for the All Blacks. He also represented the New Zealand 7s at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.