All Blacks and Chiefs star Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed that he will leave New Zealand Rugby and play in Japan after the Super Rugby season.
Williams said that he will play for the Panasonic Wild Knights before joining an un-named NRL club.
Williams did not announce which NRL side he will join after his stint in Japan but it is believed to be the Sydney Roosters.
The All Black world cup winner said that the Japanese club made him an offer that he could not refuse and the deal with the un-named NRL club was agreed to over a cup of coffee last year.
Sonny Bill said that he would leave after the Chiefs' Super Rugby season and time for the start of the Japanese Top League competition which starts in September.
The move out of New Zealand Rugby rules him out of the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Williams said that he had only agreed a one year deal with Panasonic Wild Knights with an option for another year but did not rule out a return to New Zealand Rugby in 2014.
The All Black also added that if he did return to New Zealand Rugby he would play for the Chiefs, "even if there was no money in it."
Twenty-six-year-old Williams said that he wanted to get the announcement out of the way so that he could concentrate on winning the Super Rugby championship.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said while Sonny has been with New Zealand rugby for only a short time, his contribution has been immense.
"He came to New Zealand rugby two years ago as a 'convert' player and was similar to Brad Thorn in that regard - players with high-level skills and freakish abilities without a fully developed game understanding for the new code.
"This season we have seen the birth of Sonny as a rugby player, with his game understanding now complementing his array of skills. His performances in the Steinlager Series Tests against Ireland reflected this - he was world class.
"It is a shame and disappointing that New Zealand rugby is losing him. In talking to him, I know the decision has been a tough one but we fully respect why he has made this decision. He is an outstanding athlete who has stamped his mark on the game and hopefully this is not the last time we see him in New Zealand rugby.
"I would also like to acknowledge Sonny's manager Koder Nasser. Koder has been nothing but straight up in his dealings with myself and the NZRU and kept us informed right from day one. We may not always agree, but we have appreciated his honesty and transparency."
Chiefs Coach Dave Rennie said: "Sonny has been an important part of the Chiefs family this year. His professionalism, attitude and commitment have been a real asset to our environment.
"We appreciate everything he has done for our franchise. His Chiefs family completely understand and respect his decision and will watch and support his future endeavours closely. He will always be welcome back."
NZRU CEO Steve Tew said Williams had exercised a right under his contract to leave New Zealand rugby following the Investec Super Rugby competition and also noted that Williams had advised that he would not be seeking to return to New Zealand rugby in 2013, but has not ruled out a return to New Zealand rugby in the future.
"We want to wish Sonny all the very best and thank him for the contribution he has made to New Zealand rugby."
Sonny Bill Williams has played 17 Tests for the All Blacks and more than 20 Super Rugby matches for the Chiefs and Crusaders and joined New Zealand rugby in 2010, first playing for Canterbury in the ITM Cup.
With his size, strength and trademark offloads he made an immediate impact, became a fan favourite, and was picked for the All Blacks on the 2010 end of year tour, playing in four Tests.
He played for the Crusaders in the 2011 Super Rugby season and his impressive form saw him selected again for the All Blacks Tri Nations side and Rugby World Cup-winning squad.
He made the switch to the Chiefs in 2012 and his outstanding play saw him again selected for the All Blacks Series against Ireland and he scored two tries in the team's 60-0 third Test win.