Rugby League: Toronto Wolfpack claim Sonny Bill Williams interested in joining club

All Black Sonny Bill Williams has expressed an interest in joining English Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack, head coach Brian McDermott has revealed.

The Canadian outfit are on the lookout for big-name signings following their promotion from the second-tier Championship and intend to follow up on their initial approach to the dual-code international once his Rugby World Cup commitments are over.

McDermott told the PA news agency that Toronto want to bring in a David Beckham- type player to do for the Wolfpack what the former Manchester United favourite did for LA Galaxy and that Williams fits the bill.

"Sonny Bill Williams has shown interest in us and that's what it is at the moment," McDermott said

"He's currently busy with the World Cup so I wouldn't ever dare to suggest that he is more than interested in coming but the answer wasn't a 'no' once we made contact so that's something we'd like to follow up."

Toronto, who do not take any central funding, have been bankrolled from their formation three years ago by Australian mining magnate David Argyle and he remains committed to bringing in big-name recruits despite stepping down as chairman.

Former NZ Warriors forward Bedene Thompson plays for the Toronto Wolfpack.
Former NZ Warriors forward Bedene Thompson plays for the Toronto Wolfpack. Photo credit: Getty

"Our club would want to have a name that's absolutely international that everybody would recognise and help the profile of our game, very much like David Beckham did for Major League Soccer," McDermott added.

"But he would have to be a very good player as well, he's got to be able to do the job that I want him to do. There would be no token player or just a headline-grabbing player.

"So, whoever it may be, you go mention the five highest-profile rugby players - league or union - around the world and we'd be interested and our club would get those.

"David Argyle will resource each one of those signings."

The Wolfpack spent heavily on recruitment following the appointment of former Leeds boss McDermott 12 months ago and director of rugby Brian Noble says the plan is to keep 90 percent of the players that helped gain promotion.

McDermott says the club have already identified key targets and will aim to finalise deals ahead of the start of pre-season training on November 10.

Toronto realised their five-year plan to reach Super League with two years to spare and McDermott says the priority in 2020 will be to avoid relegation.

Join us on October 25 for live updates of the Kiwis v Australia rugby league test

AAP

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