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Top 14
Williams 'excited and nervous' about Toulon switch
ESPN Staff
July 24, 2013
Blues lock Ali Williams claims a lineout, Lions v Blues, Super Rugby, Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa, March 4, 2011
World cup winner Ali Williams has made the switch from Auckland-based Super Rugby side the Blues © Getty Images

Rugby World Cup winner Ali Williams has admitted he is nervous about his latest career move to Toulon but is excited by the challenge.

The former All Black arrived in the south of France yesterday ahead of the new Top 14 season having opted for a switch from the Auckland-based Blues.

Williams is the latest high-profile player to be lured to Toulon by deep-pocketed benefactor Mourad Boudjellal with South Africa winger Bryan Habana and recent Australia international Drew Mitchell having also linked up with the Heineken Cup champions in the off-season. They join the likes of former All Blacks Carl Hayman and Chris Masoe, ex-South Africa lock Bakkies Botha, former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and Wallabies playmaker Matt Giteau in a star-studded squad.

"To have a new challenge and the chance to earn the respect of the French rugby players and the rugby community in France is very exciting but I'm also nervous," the 32-year-old Williams told Var Matin.

"My career in New Zealand had come to an end and it was time to finish and do something else. Mourad asked if I was keen and I said yes, definitely, " he added.

"There is very tough competition within the team which is perfect. Like everything else in life, nothing is guaranteed in a game of rugby so first things first for me is to get the family fixed and then get on that training field and try and earn a position."

Habana has also touched down in Toulon and is equally excited about the challenge ahead. "It's great to finally be here, I look forward to meeting all the team and be part of this club that has evolved so much in recent years."

Commenting on the arrival of Habana, who like Williams will be officially unveiled later this week, Boudjellal said: "It's been six years since I first tried to get him and there he is in Marseille, in one hour he will be in Toulon, and we can finally say that he has comes!"

Ali Williams said an emotion goodbye to the All Blacks earlier this year © Getty Images
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