Sonny Bill Williams places more importance on his NRL premiership wins with the Bulldogs and Roosters than his rugby union achievements.
The cross-code superstar has touched down in the UK recently after signing a landmark two-year contract with the Toronto Wolfpack worth a reported $10 million.
It brings to a close a career with the All Blacks that stretch almost a decade, with a return to the NRL between 2013 and 2014 in the middle, in which he won two World World Cups.
But in an interview with The Telegraph, an honest Williams admits that having grown up dreaming of playing professional rugby league, his two NRL titles still stack up as his greatest feats.
“From a sporting point of view? I guess it would have to be the NRL championships that I was a part of – they were a bit more special than anything else. Growing up as a league man, you envisage those moments so much,” Williams said.
“It has been an unbelievable journey to be an All Black. But when I hear some of the boys, like Sammy Cane, talk about the jersey and how much it means to them, I see the same in me when I was young – except that I was dreaming of playing in NRL.”
It’s a stunning claim from the dual Kiwi international, given the weight that an All Blacks jersey holds in New Zealand culture.
The 34-year-old arrives at Toronto, the English Super League’s newest side, with significant expectations given both the salary he will earn and his proven premiership-winning influence.
It’s a move that’s been hailed similar to that of David Beckham’s to the LA Galaxy in the MLS in 2007, and one that is certain to lift the profile of the game in North America ten-fold.
And with his side becoming the first side from the continent to play in England’s top flight, Williams recently admitted he was feeling the pressure to prove his worth.
“As Toronto players, I think we’re going out there to turn some heads,” Williams said at his unveiling in London. “But then also the amount of support the lads have back in Toronto, it sounds crazy.
“It’s a journey, there’s a bit of pressure there but it’s so exciting.
“But I just go back to the conversations that I had with Brian [McDermott, Wolfpack coach]. Yes, I’m a sportsman, but I need to have that purpose, something I really believe in, and just his philosophy, how he wants to play the game, I feel like the way I strive to play the game, I could be really suited to their style of play.”