11 Mar 2009

Sonny Bill looks set to stay at Toulon

7:15 am on 11 March 2009

New Zealand rugby league convert Sonny Bill Williams is very close to agreeing to a contract extension with French Top 14 rugby side Toulon, according to club president Mourad Boudjellal.

Boudjellal met with Williams agent this week and the two parties reached agreement on the financial details of the contract but not on its duration.

23-year-old Williams sparked a media storm last year when he left Australia mid-season to switch codes and play in Europe, despite being only one year into a five-year contract with the Bulldogs.

Toulon hope to tie Williams to the club for a further three years, but the player himself, who is enjoying a successful second half of the season after being sidelined by injury in September, only wants to stay for two more years.

Despite the difference, Boudjellal remains confident that the star centre will put pen to paper.

Toulon have already begun their recruitment process for next season, with Argentine internationals Felipe Contepomi (Leinster) and Juan Martin Fernandez-Lobbe (Sale), England's Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle) and Joe El Abd (Bristol) and Scottish brothers Sean (Northampton) and Rory Lamont (Sale), all on Toulon's wish-list.

Toulon are currently languishing in 11th place in the 14-team French top flight, despite significant investment in the club.

Coach and former All Black great Tana Umaga came out of retirement to play in February in a bid to save the side from relegation and Toulon currently sit five points above the drop zone with seven matches of the season remaining.