3 May 2015

Williams savours Toulon success

8:48 am on 3 May 2015

The former All Blacks Carl Hayman, Ali Williams, Chris Masoe and Rudi Wulf have helped Toulon seal an unprecedented hattrick of European club rugby titles as they beat fellow French side Clermont 24-18 in this morning's final in London.

The former All Black Ali Williams playing for European Champions Toulon.

The former All Black Ali Williams playing for European Champions Toulon. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

For Williams, 80 minutes of blood, sweat and tears to help his side to success was nothing compared to the effort his family put in to see the French giants triumph again.

With family members, including his tetraplegic dad Rodney, in the Twickenham stands after a 30-hour journey from Auckland, the All Black lock conjured up another age-defying display as Toulon beat French rivals Clermont 24-18 in this morning's title match in London.

Williams, who will retire in a few weeks after the French Top 14 championship, said their commitment put into perspective his own efforts in the inaugural Champions Cup final.

His father has been in a wheelchair for almost 20 years after a serious accident slipping down some steps.

"It means so much to me, my family... my wife, my daughter my dad, it's not easy for him... my brother has come over, travelled 30 hours...its just incredible, great way to finish really," Williams told reporters.

"If he can make that effort I can run around for 80 minutes. It puts things in perspective in terms of what happened to him."

Williams, a World Cup winner with New Zealand in 2011, has enjoyed a golden end to his career after injury struggles as part of an expensively assembled collection of international stars lured to the south of France by owner Mourad Boudjellal.

He joined Toulon in 2013 and has formed part of a vastly experienced and formidable forward pack with fellow All Black Carl Hayman, and South African World Cup winners Bakkies Botha and Juan Smith.

Hayman and Botha are also set to retire at the end of the season, and now aged 34 and with 77 All Blacks caps to look back on when he hangs up his boots, Williams will hang up his boots a happy man.

"I just love playing rugby, I love the people, I love the camaraderie, I love the battles. I love the crowds," he said,

"Most of all the mutual respect you have playing with people and against people. It's an amazing sport."

Former All Blacks Chris Masoe and Rudi Wulf also play for the French Top 14 side Toulon.

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