Rugby Sonny Bill Williams: ‘I chased girls, drank alcohol and it only gave me emptiness’

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Sonny Bill Williams on ‘representing the Muslim community’ after the Christchurch attack.

It is 6am at a London hotel and Sonny Bill Williams has just completed the dawn Fajr prayer and is sitting on his mat.

“When I hold my hands up afterwards, I am asking: ‘Ya Allah, please guide me. Keep me strong. Help me become a better person. Help me become a better man,'” he says.

“‘I know I have my frailties, but strengthen me. Forgive me for my sins. Ya Allah, bless my close ones and those around me. Keep them safe, especially the children. Keep us where our feet are and grateful for what we have.'”

It is 10 years since Williams became a Muslim while playing for Toulon in France after a period in his life where he was “wild and at the other end of the spectrum” to where he is now.

Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack’s marquee signing seems content with his life, in a happy place having returned to rugby league after five years in rugby union.

The North American side’s general manager reels off Williams’ accomplishments across four disciplines: two World Cups in rugby union with New Zealand; playing rugby sevens at the 2016 Olympics; winning multiple National Rugby League (NRL) titles in rugby league; and winning New Zealand’s heavyweight boxing title.

The 34-year-old spends half an hour fielding questions during an introductory news conference at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, greeting journalists in English, Arabic and Samoan, talking about “humility” having become the h

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