View Full Version : Willie Mason signs with Toulon

22-05-11, 07:33 AM
Australian rugby league international Willie Mason will make his union debut when the Barbarians face England at Twickenham next weekend, according to a report in the Australian media.
The 31-year-old has already agreed a lucrative deal to follow his former league team mate Sonny Bill Williams by crossing codes with French club Toulon, the report on the Sydney Morning Herald's website (www.smh.com.au (http://www.smh.com.au)) said.
"Mate, I'm just so excited to be playing rugby, and I'm looking forward to the challenge ... I've certainly jumped in the deep end in agreeing to play for the Barbarians without having any rugby experience," he was quoted as saying.
"If you ask all the boys, I've always told them I've wanted to have a crack at rugby, and I've always been the type to jump in at the deep end, and I'm ready to try the best I can to make an instant switch."
British league club Hull Kingston Rovers announced in a terse statement on Saturday that Mason had left "with immediate effect" just a couple of months into his contract.
On Monday, the Barbarians will finalise their squad for the matches against England next Sunday and Wales the following week with Sergio Parisse, Martyn Williams, George Smith, Carl Hayman and Doug Howlett already confirmed.
Born in New Zealand to a Tongan mother, Mason grew up in Australia and won 24 caps as a forward for the Kangaroos but is likely to emulate All Black Williams by playing at inside centre in union.
"I got in touch with Sonny and had a bit of a crack at him," Mason added. "Because he holds all the records in the testing procedures over here, and they compare me to him in that area.
"They know we played together in Australia, and Sonny is a bit of a legend over here in France, so I have plenty to live up to."
The big-hitting Mason had talks over a move to union with the New South Wales Waratahs four years ago and again pondered the switch in 2009 when Japanese clubs were the target.
The report said he had signed a three-year deal to play alongside England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson and Wallabies back Matt Giteau at Toulon next year.
"I've just got to learn how to play rugby in a hurry and how to speak French because I don't know a word yet, and they say it's not that easy to pick up," he was quoted as saying.
Mason has been involved in his fair share of controversial off-field incidents, including being fined by his club for urinating in public in 2009.


He's pretty old now, doubt he'll make a very successful conversion to be honest. Why Toulon want another inside centre is beyond me. Interestingly enough, he would be eligable to play for Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and interestingly he's apparently also elligable to play for the USA, which seems like something they may want to look at, for bums on seats if nothing else.

22-05-11, 07:39 AM
He's gonna get done over in the BaaBaas match - Henson may be rusty from his time out but he's been playing Union for most of his life, and this'll be Masons first match

Odd decision for Toulon too, can't see it working out,
I thought he'd be going back to the NRL after he left Hull the other day

22-05-11, 07:54 AM
I wish it would work, purely so rugby league doesn't get embarrassed. But i can't see it working, you can't build a good game at #12 over a couple of weeks, he will get a massive wake up call in the Baa Baas game (if he plays). What are Toulon doing?

22-05-11, 02:40 PM
Crash ball centre.

23-05-11, 12:07 AM
This is beyond retarded...How can a succesful businessman be such an idiot when it comes to rugby? I don't get it...

Sam Owen
23-05-11, 12:21 AM
I think hes too slow for the centres. Maybe they should try him at lock or no.8. Might be another Brad Thorn.

23-05-11, 01:09 AM
He sucks.
No really.
It's true he's no good.

snoopy snoopy dog dog
23-05-11, 11:01 AM
Mason is the ultimate mercenary. Making his first foray into rugby at 31? I think he'll be more of an Andy Farrell than a Sonny Bill Williams.