‘Sonny Bill Williams took a selfie and just walked off’ – and eight-year-old Cooper Rodda was left holding All Blacks star’s trophy
Boy’s mother Tan Geurin-Rodda says her son is over the moon after being given SBW’s tankard soon after the final
Tears of anguish turned to utter joy for eight-year-old Cooper "Coops" Rodda in a blink-if-you-miss-it act of kindness by All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams at the Hong Kong Sevens.
His mother, Tan Guerin-Rodda, said her son was crying after his beloved New Zealand lost 21-7 to Fiji in the final at the Hong Kong Stadium on Sunday.
However, within minutes of the final whistle, Williams came over for a selfie with the family and when he left seconds later, a stunned Cooper was left holding the All Blacks player’s runners-up mug – and only his father, Jeff, saw it.
Watch Cooper Rodda say thanks to Sonny Bill Williams
His story has gone viral and is another chapter in Williams’ propensity for generosity, having given away his gold medal to a young fan after winning the 15s World Cup final at Twickenham last year.
“At the end of the game, we were just waiting to take photos with the players,” said Guerin-Rodda. “My son was there and I called out to Sonny. He just turned, looked and handed my son the cup, which at the time I didn’t know about.
“Sonny took a selfie with us and just walked off. It was Jeff who said, ‘Oh my God, did you just see what he did?’ I was just gobsmacked. We had no idea that would happen, we were caught unaware.”
The family, from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand, came to Hong Kong two years after several years in Sydney, Australia.
Jeff Rodda works in construction while Guerin-Rodda is founder of the Glam Goddess fashion website. Cooper studies at the Korean International School.
Geurin-Rodda said the family lives and breathes New Zealand rugby and they still can’t believe what had happened.
“It’s such a generous thing to do,” she said. “You don’t go to a game expecting this to happen, you only read about it happening to other people.”
The family also posted a YouTube clip in which Cooper thanks Williams for his gesture.
“He [Sonny Bill Williams] is my hero,” says Cooper in the clip while holding the trophy. “He is one of the most nicest guy in the world and you should respect him, I respect him so much.
“I am his number one fan so thank you Sonny Bill for giving me this.”