Williams calls time on Test career

Date published: May 24 2013

Blues and All Blacks lock Ali Williams has announced his retirement from international rugby with immediate effect.

Blues and All Blacks lock Ali Williams has announced his retirement from international rugby with immediate effect.

32-year-old Williams retires as the second most capped All Blacks lock of all time, playing 77 Tests in a career which spanned a decade from 2002 to 2012.

Williams made the announcement on Twitter.

“Guys, I just want to let you know first that I'm retiring from international rugby,” he tweeted.

“I'm hanging up the black jersey. It's been an amazing 10 years but it's time to call it quits. But I'm not hanging up the boots yet.”

Williams will continue to play for the Blues.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen congratulated Williams on his Test career and said he respected Williams' decision to retire and go out on his terms.

“By retiring he is doing what's best for the All Blacks and showing a tremendous amount of integrity by putting the team ahead of himself,” said Hansen.

“He knew he may have been selected for the All Blacks again this year, but he also knows that it is better for the team to have a younger player in the position.

“Ali has been a fantastic All Black. He is a player who has always worn his heart on his sleeve, he is a real character who loved being an All Black and wearing the jersey proudly and representing his country, and that's what we love about him.

“He would have played a lot more games for the team if injuries hadn't robbed him of the opportunity. But it took a lot of courage to come back to top-flight rugby and that is a measure of the man and shows just how much he loves the game.”

Blues boss Sir John Kirwan paid tribute to Williams, who is in his first season as captain of the Blues.

“I'm incredibly proud of Ali; it must have been a very difficult decision for him to make,” he said.

“A lot of players at his stage in their career are looking to go overseas, but he really wants to commit to the Blues and stay here and help this young side grow and achieve their goals, which is fantastic.

“He's been a great All Black and I'm looking forward to him being fully committed and focussed on the Blues and enjoying himself.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew echoed Kirwan's sentiments.

“Ali has been one of the great servants of New Zealand rugby and, on behalf of New Zealand Rugby, we congratulate him on his All Blacks career,” he said.

He still has a lot to offer the game here, is obviously making an outstanding contribution to the Blues and wants to continue doing that which is great for New Zealand rugby.”