SBW cleared for Tests

2012-08-13 07:54

Wellington - Sonny Bill Williams' new Japanese club has cleared the star centre to play in the All Blacks' opening Rugby Championship matches against Australia, officials said Monday.

Williams signed on with the Panasonic Wild Knights last month but New Zealand asked the club to release its high-profile recruit so he could cover for the injured Conrad Smith in two Championship Tests against the Wallabies.

With less than a week until the opening match, there were doubts Williams would be available as the Japanese club insisted on medical tests to ensure he was fully fit after a taxing season with Super 15 winners the Chiefs.

But the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said on Monday that all arrangements had been made for Williams, 26, to again don the black jersey and it could confirm his place in the team.

"It's what we expected, but we knew it was going to take a bit of time, and we are now all looking forward to preparing for Saturday's challenge," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in a statement.

The decision means Williams will play Australia in Sydney next Saturday and Auckland a week later.

After completing a lucrative stint in Japan, Williams is expected to return to Australia's National Rugby League next year, the competition where he made his name with a 2004 premiership win with the Canterbury Bulldogs in his rookie season.


  • spyker.oflanagan - 2012-08-13 08:07

    Ou Jean gaan weer sy bitch wees. Waar is meisiekind?

      cape.maori - 2012-08-13 08:38

      My understanding is that he will only play in the two opening games against the Aussies - I can hear the relief among the bokkie fans! Go ALL BLACKS!!!

      nzbro.allblack - 2012-08-13 09:09

      yes you are correct maori. For NZ there are 2 cups at stake. The 4 nations championship and the Bledisloe cup which is soley between oz and nz. NZ have won the bledisloe for 10 yrs in a row now and deans believes the ozzies have a very good chance this year with 2 of our 3 matches against oz to be played in oz. They also have a 3 week head start advantage in preparation.

      ockie.barnard.9 - 2012-08-13 15:29

      This is really very good news. SA want to beat NZ with their best players. It reduce the excuses of their SA supporters .

  • sean.brady.14224 - 2012-08-13 09:57

    Spyker, head up to Limpopo and find some textbooks to read. Or did you stop at the headline? "The decision means Williams will play Australia in Sydney next Saturday and Auckland a week later."

      spyker.oflanagan - 2012-08-13 10:52

      I stopped reading just after I passed standard 5.

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