Despite recently finishing his All Blacks World Cup campaign, Sonny Bill Williams will leave no stone unturned as he prepares for his return to rugby league.
Despite recently finishing his All Blacks World Cup campaign, Sonny Bill Williams will leave no stone unturned as he prepares for his return to rugby league.

Inside SBW’s brutal Byron Bay boot camp

Sonny Bill Williams will arrive in Australia on Thursday morning and be whisked away from Gold Coast Airport to endure a rigorous 30-day training camp near Byron Bay to prepare for his return to rugby league.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Williams will fly in from New Zealand and be collected by his personal trainer for the next four weeks - former Sydney Roosters speed, strength and nutrition coach, Keegan Smith.

Keegan Smith is the son of former Illawarra, Parramatta, Sydney Roosters, Newcastle and St George coach Brian Smith.

Sonny Bill Williams is about to begin a training camp in Byron Bay. Picture: Phil Walter
Sonny Bill Williams is about to begin a training camp in Byron Bay. Picture: Phil Walter

Williams will use Keegan's five acre property outside Byron Bay to start his training program which will also include sessions at training fields, Gold Coast gymnasiums and recovery centres in south-east Queensland.

Smith has organised several guest athletes and coaches to visit Williams' training camp to "keep it fresh".

A former All Blacks star, Williams is expected to link with his new Super League club - Toronto Wolfpack - in early January. His training program with Smith won't finish until just before Christmas.

Smith has also spoken to Toronto training staff about Williams' fitness progress. There are specialist coaches waiting for Williams in Toronto and Manchester - where the Wolfpack will be based for English games - to maintain his elite fitness levels.

Smith with his personal trainer Keegan Smith and Quade Cooper. Source: Instagram
Smith with his personal trainer Keegan Smith and Quade Cooper. Source: Instagram

Williams hasn't played rugby league for five years following his second stint with the Roosters.

"We know what Sonny is capable of and we want to go beyond that. That is why he is still playing - he wouldn't be doing it unless he wanted to get better. We want to see how far we can go with Sonny - to take him to another level," Smith told The Daily Telegraph.

"We have a global team of coaches ready to work with Sonny locally in Manchester and Canada to keep him at his best through the next chapter.

"The goal for the camp is to have Sonny in the best shape he's been in. We know his previous performances so this camp is about increasing flexibility, strength and speed to have him ready to express his skills on the field in 2020.

SBW will link with Toronto in early January. Picture: Alex Pantling
SBW will link with Toronto in early January. Picture: Alex Pantling

"Structural balance is our system of injury prevention and performance optimisation that brings all these qualities into balance.

"We'll be training at RealMVMT (Real movement) performance facilities that are designed around this unique approach to athletic training.

"It's about balance between strength and flexibility, structural balance so he can use all his force and speed, get him to his full potential."

Smith worked with Roosters coach Trent Robinson at Catalans in 2012. Williams and Smith met the following year at Bondi.

Asked about Williams, NSW coach Brad Fittler said: "Without a doubt, what he does do, he changes culture in a club. People watch what he does. He is his own man and he does it really well.

"To be able to go straight from a World Cup (to start a new rugby league career) - the mindset to be able to do that, and not demand a rest or a break, it shows you where he's at. It's hard to imagine.

"They got beaten in the semi-finals but there aren't any holidays there. He is a pretty impressive bloke.

"He didn't play a lot of rugby union (recently) because of injuries. It will be interesting to see how he goes. I think it's great, awesome, good on him. It's a big investment."

Toronto will base themselves in Manchester early in the season with the Canadian weather deemed unsuitable for outdoor training. Players and their families will move to Toronto in April.

Smith and Williams worked together earlier this year to prepare the football star for the rugby union World Cup in Japan.


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