16 Jan 2015

World Cup winner Ali Williams retires

2:35 pm on 16 January 2015

The former World Cup winning All Black Ali Williams is vowing to spend his time fishing and hunting after announcing his retirement from rugby.

Ali Williams.

Ali Williams. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The former New Zealand lock, who's currently playing for French top 14 club Toulon, will quit the sport at the end of the European season.

"I've enjoyed every day that I've played rugby and I'm still enjoying it to the end but my body's said enough is enough," he said.

"I can't train during the week and you can't commit to another season and let players down by not being able to train during the week."

"Sometimes it's hard to acknowledge that but sometimes it's just one of those things and you have to walk away and enjoy what was 15 years of my life and I start again and do something else."

The 33-year-old won the Super Rugby title with the Blues in 2003 and the Crusaders in 2008 as well as the World Cup with New Zealand in 2011.

Williams joined the European and French champions Toulon at the beginning of last season.

He made his international debut in a 31-28 defeat to England at Twickenham in November 2002, and finished with 77 Test caps for the All Blacks, scoring seven tries.

He becomes the third World Cup winner playing for Toulon to announce his retirement in the past year.

England legend Jonny Wilkinson and South African forward Danie Rossouw, World Cup winners in 2003 and 2007 respectively, quit the game following Toulon's double last season.

South Africa lock Bakkies Botha could take that to four if, as expected, he also decides to call it a day at the end of this season, or indeed, after the World Cup in September and October.

Another former New Zealand international, prop Carl Hayman, the current club captain, has already said he will retire at the season's end while fellow former All Black back-rower Chris Masoe is rumoured to be considering quitting too.