The footy legend says his father became a paraplegic in a horror stadium accident

By Josh Alston for Daily Mail Australia

02:03 May 13, 2024, updated 02:03 May 13, 2024

  • Had a glamorous, globe-trotting career as an All Blacks star
  • When he was just 16 years old, he experienced a shocking family tragedy

Footy fans would think All Blacks legend Ali Williams has led a blessed life, but now the New Zealand star has spoken out about the horrific accident that left his father paralyzed and the cocaine scandal that almost crippled his own career would have.

Born Alexander James Williams, Ali had a distinguished career with the All Blacks from 2002 to 2012, making 77 appearances, taking part in World Cup tournaments in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Known for his skill and toughness, Lock was named one of the NZ Rugby Almanack’s five players of the year in 2005, cementing his legacy as one of the most notable figures in New Zealand rugby.

However, things almost came to naught when he was caught trying to buy cocaine in 2017 in a scandal that nearly robbed him of his career and legacy.

Today, the 43-year-old is married to New Zealand entrepreneur Anna Mowbray and the couple are co-owners of the new Auckland A-League franchise, which is set to take part in the competition next season.

Former All Blacks star Ali Williams and his wife Anna Mowbray are now co-owners of the newest A-League franchise
Williams enjoyed a career with the All Blacks that included 77 appearances and took part in three Rugby World Cups
In an incident in 2017, when he was found trying to buy cocaine outside a Paris nightclub, the mighty castle threw away almost everything

On the Between Two Beers podcast, he reflected on the cocaine scandal that led to his dismissal from French professional rugby union club Racing 92.

The All Blacks star was arrested in Paris after he was allegedly caught trying to buy cocaine outside a nightclub, which almost cost him his international career.

“It’s one of those things where life was good.” You’re flying high, everything was easy. “You may not have challenged yourself as much as you probably should,” Williams said.

“But deep down you had a fear that the journey to becoming a professional rugby player was over and I say these things in hindsight about an event that happened and I was there at the wrong place at the wrong time was.”

Luckily for Williams, he survived the scandal and has been able to build a new empire as a real estate developer since his retirement.

Williams was criminally convicted as a result of his coke scandal and has not forgotten his mistake and the cost that almost cost him
Williams (pictured with his wife Anna Mowbray) is successful in football and, after rugby, was also hugely successful as a property developer in New Zealand
Williams also reflected on how terrifying it was to watch his father become a paraplegic when he fell down the stairs at one of New Zealand’s most famous stadiums

However, a criminal record is a lasting reminder of his mistake, and he admits it was the wake-up call he needed.

“It was just brutal, but it was one of those moments where it’s like there’s really nowhere else to look but to look at yourself in the mirror and take responsibility for doing it and putting yourself in it “, and that’s because of one thing,” he said.

“It was very interesting at the time because that’s when I realized, man, I just have no choice but to own this alone and completely.”

Williams then admitted he took the penalty on the chin and said the glamorous French club did not sack him but left voluntarily.

“(I said) I’m going away (to the club president). “I’m sorry,” Williams said.

“And he couldn’t understand it. He said, “You’re not going to fight and you want your money?” And I said, “Man, don’t pay me a dime from now on.”

“I have to run. And that’s exactly what happened. He helped me and said, “No, you have to stay here for a few months and get your family in order.”

Most football fans and the general public soon forgot about the scandal, but Williams, who returned to New Zealand immediately afterwards, kept it on his mind.

“I think, in a strange way, it becomes clear to me day after day, every week, that you are no better than the law,” he said.

Williams never spoke much about his father Rodney during his playing career, but spoke about their relationship after his father’s death

Williams also spoke about his father Rodney Williams, who died in 2023, and reflected on the shocking moment his father fell down a flight of stairs at Mt Smart Stadium and became a paraplegic. Ali was only 16 years old at the time.

“It’s pretty bizarre. “It’s the first time I’ve talked about it since his death,” he said.

“We became great friends. It evolved from a father-son relationship to partners. And the best thing about your friends is that they tell you the honest truth and tell you things you don’t want to hear.

“He would say to me: You don’t do this or you do that.” And so throughout his rugby career he was the mirror that never lied. So he always, always told you these things. And it really developed into a relationship.”