Sonny Bill Williams: All Black given new winner’s medal after giving first to teen

Story highlights

Sonny Bill Williams given second winner's medal

Williams handed first medal to pitch invader

All Black downplayed his gesture

Dan Carter named World Rugby Player of the Year

CNN  — 

He played a key part in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup final triumph – and then stole the show by a remarkable act of generousness to a teenage pitch invader.

All Blacks center Sonny Bill Williams was awarded a second World Cup winner’s medal having given away his previous gong to 14-year-old Charlie Lines moments after Saturday’s final ended.

Williams, whose offload paved the way for Ma’a Nonu’s second-half try in the 34-17 victory over Australia, had been parading around the pitch following the successful defense of New Zealand’s world title when Lines rushed onto the field.

The teenager was tackled to the ground by a steward before being helped to his feet by Williams and returned to friends and family in the stands after which the All Black placed his precious medal around the young fan’s neck.

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The gesture led to global headlines and the young fan even offered to give the medal back.

But Williams’ response on Twitter was: “For a kid 2 have that will and take that risk, you deserve a medal.”

Williams, though, was not to return home to New Zealand empty handed after being handed a second medal at the World Rugby Awards in London Sunday.

The All Black received a standing ovation as he took to the stage, while the master of ceremonies Alex Payne said: “World Rugby would like every winner to go home with a medal and they have found a final one.”

Typically the 30-year-old Williams downplayed the magnitude of his gesture: “I’m really surprised, most of the boys would have done the same.”

At the time of the event, the player explained the reasoning behind his instinctive reaction: “A young fella snuck onto the field somehow but when he was coming up to give me a hug, he got smoked by a security guard, full-on tackled him.

“The other fella was a big man so he was lucky he didn’t break his ribs or something. I think the moment got the better of him but he was just so excited to get onto the field with the All Blacks. I just thought I’d make it a night to remember for him.

“Rather than have the medal hanging up at home, it’s going to hanging around that young fella’s neck. He can tell that story for a long time to come.”

Williams will be definitely keeping hold of his new medal, with the former rugby league player tweeting his thanks to tournament officials.

Meanwhile All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter became only the second player in history to be a three-time recipient of the World Rugby Player of the Year.

Joining his captain Richie McCaw in being a three-time winner, Carter, who kicked 19 points in the final, and his team were unsurprisingly named World Rugby Team of the Year.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Carter. “It’s a very pleasing and proud moment because I’ve had to work extremely hard, especially these last two to three years with the injuries that I’ve had.”

Other winners on the night included Kendra Cocksedge, who was named Women’s Player of the Year, while another All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder was rewarded as the breakthrough player of 2015.