Lies, lies and more lies from Toulon over Sonny Bill Willi

Sonny Bill Williams signed up to play rugby in France almost two weeks before he walked out on the Bulldogs, it has been revealed.


According to the Daily Telegraph in Australia Toulon’s multi-millionaire president Mourad Boudjellal admitted he lied and confirmed Williams was already an official team member when he flew out of Australia on July 26 – contrary to the club’s official line so far.


“His agents came to Toulon and we came to a financial agreement pretty easily,” Boudjellal admitted.


“I only had one demand. Given his inexperience I didn’t want him to be considered as one of the two supplementary players we were allowed to sign (after the July 15 deadline for signing players).


“So on the morning of the 15th SBW sent us his signed contract that we sent straight away to the league.”


Boudjellal admitted he was lying when he repeatedly denied in media interviews that Williams had signed on with the club.


“The problem was the four-year contract that Sonny had with the Bulldogs,” he has now told French rugby bible Midi Olympique.


“He quickly explained to us that his departure from Australia would not be simple and that the Bulldogs’ directors wouldn’t just let him go like that.


“So I decided on a total media blackout.”


Boudjellal concocted a false story with coach and former New Zealand All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, he said.


Tana Umaga and I decided to say he had come for a meeting between him and SBW to speak of his possible signing.”


Umaga was confirmed as the man behind the saga. The coach set his sights on Williams as soon as the team had played their final game of last season.


“I measured the risk of engaging a player who had never played in rugby union but Tana was sure about him.


“He assured me that we wouldn’t have anything to regret. So I gave him the green light to contact him.


“He came back 24 hours later to say he had the agreement of the player to come.”


The club hid Williams in London, Paris and Toulon as he dodged lawyers and Australian media pursuing him.


Williams ran on in his first trial match against Carqueiranne-Hyeres to send a message that he wasn’t coming back to Australia.


“After the training match the Bulldogs understood the player would not be coming back and negotiations to finish with all these procedures started.


“At the outset they wanted an astronomical sum of money. Then they asked us to make a step in their direction and not play SBW against Toulouse.


“It was only a friendly match so I accepted unconditionally. The following morning the tone of the discussions were a lot more peaceful.


“The Bulldogs directors wanted to get out of it with their heads high and with the most money possible.


“We came to an agreement fairly easily especially with the player in person accepting to pay a large part of the financial compensation to come to Toulon.”


Immediately after Williams left Australia, Boudjellal said: “We did make contact some time ago with Sonny Bill Williams.


“He said to us that he wanted to move from rugby league to union but that is where it finished.”


On another occasion he told ABC radio: “Today we haven’t signed a contract because I haven’t met Sonny Bill Williams.


“I know he wishes to play rugby. I know he wishes to play at Toulon under Tana Umaga.”

 

The Daily Telegraph – Top14Rugby.com

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