You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Australia is set to open next year's Kangaroo tour with an historic match against the Sonny Bill Williams-led Toronto Wolfpack.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said planning was underway for a match against the Wolfpack at the end of next season after confirmation Williams would join the Canadian club on a two-year deal reportedly worth up to $10 million.

Australia will play England in a three-Test series on October 31 at the University of Bolton Stadium, November 7 at Elland Road, Leeds and November 14 at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Meninga is also keen to include matches against Super League clubs on the tour and Wigan, St Helens and Wolfpack told earlier this week that they would be keen to host the world champions, while Leeds are also believed to be interested.

As Wolfpack CEO Robert Hunter described the dual international as league's version of LeBron James, Meninga said the signing of Williams would generate huge interest for the Wolfpack and the Kangaroos were hoping to play the newly promoted Super League club before the opening Test against England.

"Sonny Bill Williams will provide an immediate impact for rugby league in the Northern Hemisphere and for the development of rugby in North America," Meninga said.

"When the Kangaroos tour England in 2020 – we will look forward to playing a warm-up game against the Wolfpack as it would create a lot of excitement for the sport."

Wolfpack commercial director Martin Vickers told a match against the Kangaroos would generate worldwide interest.

"Imagine what a boost that would be to our plans in growing the game back in North America and globally," he said.

"A mid-week full house in potentially a UK expansion area such as Newcastle, Bristol or London, broadcast to a global TV audience would make such a statement about the development of the game internationally."

Williams will fly to London for a press conference at Arsenal FC's Emirates Stadium next Thursday.

Hunter said Williams' reach was just what the club needed.

"The excitement he will bring to the sport of rugby league in this country will be incredible. Having someone of his talent join the Wolfpack will greatly raise the profile of the club, and also help move the game forward globally," he said.

"Sonny is a phenomenal athlete and we believe he is rugby's LeBron James and his addition to our league is comparable to when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy."

Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott said Williams' worth on the field should not be forgotten. 

"We have signed one of the highest-profile rugby players, if not sports stars in the world. He will enhance the global game of rugby by being in Toronto and certainly push the brand of the Wolfpack onto another level," he said.

"The main point of excitement for our club is that we are signing a great rugby league player who has the hunger to be successful in Super League much as he was in the NRL and rugby union."

The Williams signing even attracted civic attention with Toronto mayor John Tory weighing in.

"Today's news is another huge win for our Toronto Wolfpack. Sonny Bill Williams is one of the best rugby players in the world and we welcome him to Toronto," he said.

"Our city is proud of the success of this team so far and we're ready to keep cheering them on in the Super League."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners