Sonny Bill Williams is determined to "turn some heads" with Toronto Wolfpack after revealing he took "stick" from team-mates over another cross-code switch.

Fresh from representing New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup, Williams has given up the 15-a-side game for another dabble in the 13-player code.

It will be a third stint in rugby league for the 34-year-old, who has also competed in professional boxing, and he has vowed to make an impact with the Super League newcomers.

He comes in on a salary worth a reported £2.6million per year, unprecedented money for a single player in the sport, with his signing a statement of intent by his new employers.

"As Toronto players, I think we're going out there to turn some heads," Williams said on Thursday. "But then also the amount of support the lads have back in Toronto, it sounds crazy.

"It's a journey, there's a bit of pressure there but it's so exciting."

He was speaking in London at a news conference to announce his arrival in the UK-centred league, with Toronto the ambitious Canadian outfit who played their first match less than three years ago.

Next term will be their first in the top tier, and Williams said he felt "really grateful and blessed for this opportunity but I understand what I'm coming into".

He is confident the level of pressure that will be on him and Toronto is something he can thrive on, explaining he was offered the chance to join coach Brian McDermott's team "around the World Cup time".

Speculation linking him to Toronto had been bubbling along for months, and Williams decided the time was right to leave Auckland-based Super Rugby side the Blues when a deal was tabled.

"Obviously the lads in the teams I've been playing for were giving me stick but I hadn't heard anything from the club. Once it all came about it came to fruition really quickly," Williams said.

"But I just go back to the conversations that I had with Brian. Yes, I'm a sportsman, but I need to have that purpose, something I really believe in, and just his philosophy, how he wants to play the game, I feel like the way I strive to play the game, I could be really suited to their style of play."

McDermott knows the new acquisition will raise the profile of Toronto's team, and Super League as a whole, after pointing to the huge numbers of television viewers that saw Williams in World Cup action.

"They're going to follow where he's gone to and take interest," McDermott said. "Now they may have no interest whatsoever to start with in Super League or the Wolfpack, but they are now going to do that."

Scottish Rugby has expressed its regret over threatening to take legal action against World Rugby during the World Cup and agreed to pay a £70,000 fine.

Chief executive Mark Dodson said Scottish Rugby had received legal opinion for a potential case against the world governing body if Scotland's clash with Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The decisive Pool A showdown between the hosts and Scotland at International Stadium Yokohama was in doubt with one of the most destructive typhoons in decades approaching.

Japan reached the quarter-finals and knocked Gregor Townsend's side out when the match went ahead as scheduled last month.

Scottish Rugby stated that it would "consider all options, which may include arbitration" after World Rugby ordered the organisation to apologise and pay a fine.

The matter is now closed, though, after Scottish Rugby opted against taking further action.

"World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter.

"The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party."

World Rugby stated last week that the fine will be donated to the ChildFund Pass it Back programme to assist with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

Scottish Rugby has expressed its regret over threatening to take legal action against World Rugby during the World Cup and agreed to pay a £70,000 fine.

Chief executive Mark Dodson said Scottish Rugby had received legal opinion for a potential case against the world governing body if Scotland's clash with Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The decisive Pool A showdown between the hosts and Scotland at International Stadium Yokohama was in doubt with one of the most destructive typhoons in decades approaching.

Japan reached the quarter-finals and knocked Gregor Townsend's side out when the match went ahead as scheduled last month.

Scottish Rugby stated that it would "consider all options, which may include arbitration" after World Rugby ordered the organisation to apologise and pay a fine.

The matter is now closed, though, after Scottish Rugby opted against taking further action.

"World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter.

"The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party."

World Rugby stated last week that the fine will be donated to the ChildFund Pass it Back programme to assist with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

Rory Best will captain the Barbarians against Fiji on his final appearance before he retires from rugby.

Former Ireland skipper Best is calling time on a 15-year senior career after Saturday's match at Twickenham.

It has now been confirmed the 37-year-old will lead Eddie Jones' side, with the England coach having also included three of South Africa's Rugby World Cup winners.

Makazole Mapimpi and loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira – also making the final appearance of his career – start, with Lukhanyo Am named on the bench.

In total, there are 10 South African players within the 23-man invitational squad.

Best's final international appearance for Ireland came in their 46-14 defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Barbarians: 15. David Havili, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Mathieu Bastareaud, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Joe Powell; 1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Rory Best, 3. Enrique Pieretto, 4. Luke Jones, 5. Tyler Ardron, 6. Pete Samu, 7. Marco van Staden, 8. Josh Strauss.

Replacements: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Campese Ma'afu, 18. Hencus van Wyk, 19. Angus Cottrell, 20. Matt Philip, 21. Jano Vermaak, 22. Lukhanyo Am, 23. Morne Steyn.

Guilhem Guirado will miss the Six Nations after the France captain was ruled out for five months with a ruptured bicep.

Guirado suffered the injury just before the hour-mark on his Montpellier debut in a 19-19 Top 14 draw against his former club Toulon at Stade Mayol on Saturday.

Montpellier revealed on Tuesday that the hooker is to undergo surgery and will not be available until April.

The 33-year-old will play no part in Les Bleus' Six Nations campaign under Fabien Galthie, who replaced Jacques Brunel after the Rugby World Cup.

Montpellier have also lost wing Jim Nagusa for 10 weeks due to a knee injury.

Two-time Top 14 champions Montpellier travel to Connacht for their first European Champions Cup Pool 5 fixture on Sunday.

Eddie Jones fended off reports he interested in an NRL coaching role but is unsure how long he will remain England boss.

Jones has been linked with a switch to rugby league to take over at South Sydney Rabbitohs following England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.

Rugby Australia expressed an interest in appointing Jones for a second spell as Wallabies head coach, but it was told he is unavailable.

Jones is contracted to England until 2021 but the canny Australian gave little away when asked about his future as he prepares to coach the Barbarians against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Asked about a potential move to the NRL, he told Sky Sports News: "There's all sorts of stories at the moment.

"I saw a story about me going to France, stories about going to Fiji - which is definitely a lot warmer than it is here."

Quizzed whether he would stay in his current role for the 2023 World Cup in France, he replied: "It's not really my decision. As you know, coaches are contracted by either a club or a union and we've got to perform. That's the only thing I'm worried about."

Jones also stated that, in hindsight, he picked the wrong team to face the Springboks.

"To a large degree, it was just one of those games. Some games you get caught. They started the game well. Things came off for them, things didn't go well for us." he added.

"We got on the back foot and couldn't get back on the front foot. If there's one thing I could have done now that I would have done, I would have changed the selection a little bit.

"I continually in the World Cup changed selection from game to game - in hindsight, I probably should have refreshed the squad a little bit.

"I'm not going to talk about individuals now. I just should have maybe changed the order of the 23."

Warren Gatland said he "politely declined" the chance to put his name forward for the New Zealand job as he had already committed to the Chiefs and the British and Irish Lions.

Gatland's long tenure as Wales head coach came to an end after the reigning Six Nations champions were beaten by the All Blacks in a Rugby World Cup third-place play-off in Japan at the start of this month.

The New Zealander signed a four-year deal to return to his homeland as Chiefs boss in June, during which time he will take a year away from the Super Rugby franchise to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021.

Gatland says he has not applied to replace Steve Hansen as New Zealand head coach after already agreeing to take on two alternative roles.

"It was nice to be contacted [but] I politely declined putting my name forward," he told Radio Sport.

"I'm a little bit old school... I'd made the commitment to the Chiefs and I'd made the commitment to the Lions, it was important that I carry on with that ... honour the commitment I made to those two sides.

"Maybe sometime in the future I may get that opportunity again."

Wales will be without centre Jonathan Davies for the 2020 Six Nations after he was ruled out for at least six months due to impending knee surgery.

Davies, 31, sustained the injury during a pool game against Fiji at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He missed the quarter-final against France but returned for the semi-final against eventual winners South Africa, while he also played in the bronze medal match against New Zealand.

The timetable for Davies' recovery means the Six Nations, which begins for Wales with a home fixture against Italy on February 1 and runs until March 14, will come too soon for him in his recovery.

 

Also set for a spell on the sidelines following Wales' return from the tournament in Japan is fly-half Rhys Patchell. Davies' Scarlets team-mate will miss between 12 and 16 weeks due to shoulder surgery.

Wales are defending Six Nations champions having achieved the Grand Slam in the 2019 tournament.

They will be under the leadership of Wayne Pivac following the departure of Warren Gatland, who spent 12 years at the helm.

Jonathan Davies' knee injury sustained at the Rugby World Cup will rule him out of Wales' 2020 Six Nations campaign. 

Teddy Thomas scored a hat-trick as Racing 92 beat struggling derby rivals Stade Francais 25-9, while Top 14 leaders Lyon thumped La Rochelle on Sunday.

Stade remain rooted to the bottom of the table after Thomas bagged a treble at Stade Jean-Bouin to move Racing up three places to 10th and pile more pressure on coach Heyneke Meyer.

Meyer was backed by Stade owner Hans-Peter Wild on the eve of the Paris derby, but a seventh defeat from nine top-flight matches will lead to more questions over his future.

Wing Thomas took a brilliant pass from Virimi Vakatawa before scoring the opening try and had a double late in the first half, though a second Nicolas Sanchez penalty reduced Racing's lead to 15-6 at the break.

Maxime Machenaud's second penalty gave Racing a nine-point advantage and France flyer Thomas crossed for a third time right at the end to secure the bonus point, much to the fury of Racing fans.

Lyon are five points clear at the summit after a 45-17 battering of La Rochelle.

Baptiste Couilloud dotted down in both halves, while Dylan Cretin, Charlie Ngatai and Loann Goujon also crossed in an emphatic victory for the leaders.

Bristol Bears pulled off a stunning fightback to beat Exeter Chiefs 20-17 and go top of the Premiership, while Waisake Naholo scored a debut try in London Irish's thrashing of bottom side Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

The Chiefs looked to be cruising to victory when they scored 17 unanswered points in the first half of a Sandy Park thriller.

Bristol had other ideas and snatched an unlikely win right at the end when Dan Thomas crashed over with Exeter unable to stop a driving maul.

Tries from Sam Simmonds and Nic White along with seven points from the boot of Joe Simmonds put Exeter in command at the interval, but Bristol scored 17 points in the last 20 minutes to stun Rob Baxter's side.

Callum Sheedy was on target with two penalties and Piers O'Conor dotted down with White in the sin bin before Thomas was awarded a decisive score following consultation with the TMO.

Sheedy added the extras as Bristol moved level with Northampton Saints on 14 points and replaced them at the summit.

Former New Zealand wing Naholo, one of a host of high-profile signings for the Exiles following their promotion from the Championship, was among five try-scorers in a bonus-point victory at the Madejski Stadium.

Nick Phipps picked out fellow debutant Naholo with a brilliant cross-field kick and the powerful flyer finished clinically, while Ruan Botha was another new recruit to touch down to keep the Tigers at the foot of the table.

Rassie Erasmus hailed Francois Louw as a "warrior" after the South Africa back-row announced his international retirement.

The 34-year-old has called time on his Test career on the back of the Springboks' Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan.

Louw played 76 times for the world champions and Rugby Championship holders after making his debut against Wales in 2010.

South Africa director of rugby Erasmus paid tribute to the forward, who will continue to play for Premiership side Bath.

Erasmus said: "Flo was a real warrior of the back row.

"He was always ready to go where the fire was hottest and was the kind of tough-minded character that you'd always want beside you. He didn't take a step backwards ever.

"He has been a tremendous servant of South African rugby and we're losing a lot with his retirement, not just in how he played, but in the calmness, insight and character that he brought to the group."

Louw said: "I've had an amazing journey in international rugby.

"I've made friends for life in the game and created incredible memories with great people."

Paul Gallen has indicated he is set to fight former NRL rival Sonny Bill Williams in 2020, provided the prize money is evenly split.

After featuring for New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Williams has made headlines this week, switching back to rugby league to sign a two-year contract with newly promoted Super League club Toronto Wolfpack.

The 34-year-old's deal will reportedly make him the highest-paid rugby league player in the world, though it has now been reported a clause in his Toronto contract will allow Williams to fight Gallen in a heavyweight bout next year.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper report the fight will take place next October, with the two-time Rugby World Cup winner having initially agreed to face Gallen, who retired from the NRL at the end of last season, in 2017, only for the fight to be cancelled.

Gallen, 38, is taking on former AFL player Barry Hall in a heavyweight bout on Friday.

"I've got to deal with Barry Hall first and get him out of the way... we'll worry about Sonny later," Gallen told the Daily Telegraph.

"It will be a 50-50 split or it won't be happening. Everything was lopsided his way last time. Not anymore. I bring as much to the fight as he does.

"He'll make his couple of million so there will be no excuses for him to back away again."

Williams' agent, Khoder Nasser, shot down Gallen's claims.

"If Gal honestly thinks he's entitled to a 50-50 cut, the poor bugger has had too many head knocks," Nasser told the Telegraph.

Williams holds a 7-0 record as a professional boxer and beat veteran South African Frans Botha - who had previously fought the likes of Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko - by unanimous decision in 2013 to take the WBA International Heavyweight belt.

Andrew Conway marked his return from the Rugby World Cup in real style as he delivered a decisive try in Munster's 22-16 Pro14 win over Ulster.

Conway, a member of Ireland's squad in Japan, scoring three World Cup tries, was back in club action for Conference B leaders Munster on Saturday.

His side had been in control at the break, leading 15-6 thanks to tries from CJ Stander and Rory Scannell, but an Ulster fightback had them in front by a point with less than 20 minutes remaining.

Then Conway stepped up and burst through the centre of the Ulster team, tearing away from a pair of attempted tackles from recovering defenders to dot down for the winner.

Munster had beaten Cardiff Blues in Conway's absence last week, but the Welsh side ended a four-match losing run against Cheetahs.

An action-packed encounter saw four cards, with Cheetahs reduced to 14 men after just 14 minutes as Jasper Wiese was dismissed with dangerous play.

Fourteen points from the boot of Jarrod Evans, who ended the match in the sin bin, proved the difference in a 30-17 success.

Scott van Breda was similarly influential as Southern Kings got their first victory of the season, winning 16-14 at Ospreys thanks to the full-back's 11 points.

Zebre remain winless, though, after going down 31-7 to Glasgow Warriors, with George Horne scoring twice.

Scarlets edged out Benetton 20-17 in the late game after Dan Jones dispatched a penalty with the last kick of the match.

Top 14 champions Toulouse maintained their 100 per cent home record this season with a dominant 34-8 defeat of Clermont Auvergne.

Toulouse have worryingly lost each of their first five away games this term, but they have been untouchable at home and that trend continued on Saturday.

In the day's late kick-off, a repeat of last season's final, the hosts stormed into a 24-0 half-time lead thanks to tries from Sofiane Guitoune, Maxime Medard and Romain Ntamack.

Clermont failed to cross in the 2018-19 decider and their breakthrough score counted for little here, with Alivereti Raka's 46th-minute try unable to inspire a fightback.

Gillian Galan then secured a bonus point at the other end 10 minutes from time.

Earlier in the day, Bordeaux-Begles moved level on points with Lyon, who play on Sunday, at the top of the table after seeing off Agen at home.

The visitors were held scoreless as Bordeaux stayed patient, building on a 6-0 advantage at the break with tries from Santiago Cordero and Yann Lesgourgues.

Montpellier played out a draw for the second time this season as Anthony Belleau's penalty four minutes from time earned a share of the spoils for Toulon at 19-19.

There was late drama at Castres, too, where Brive were agonisingly denied by an 81st-minute kick from Julien Dumora.

Francois Da Ros' try two minutes earlier looked to have earned Brive an away win, but Dumora kept his nerve in a 28-26 success.

Meanhile, Pau scraped past Bayonne 9-3 in a game of no tries.

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