Wellington - Sonny Bill Williams was named on Thursday in New Zealand's squad for
next week's Hong Kong Sevens after shaking off a knee injury that
sidelined him for two tournaments.
The cross-code superstar is participating in this year's World Sevens
series with an eye on making the Rio Olympics when the shortened
version makes its Games' debut in August.
Coach Gordon Tietjens said the 30-year-old was raring to go after a
swollen knee kept him out of the Las Vegas and Vancouver legs of World
"Sonny is coming off the back of two very good tournaments in Sydney
and Wellington and wants to get back into it," Tietjens said after
naming him in his 14-man squad for the next two legs of the series in
Hong Kong (April 8-10) and Singapore (April 16/17).
"He’s been training well and will be looking forward to Hong Kong."
Williams contributed to New Zealand's Rugby World Cup victories in
2011 and 2015, as well as winning a Super Rugby title with the
Chiefs in 2012.
He also has two rugby league premierships from Australia's NRL in the
trophy cabinet and successfully dabbled in boxing, winning all seven of
his heavyweight bouts.
However, he has said he rates becoming an Olympian as the greatest feat an athlete could achieve.
Tietjens said Williams was working hard and loved the Sevens culture,
adding the excitement surrounding the Olympics was building for
everyone as the Sevens series progresses.
"All teams can sense we're not far away from Rio," he said.
still trialling different players and that's what we've done here. We
all want to improve at every tournament."
New Zealand are currently third in the World Sevens standings behind Fiji and South Africa.
New Zealand has been drawn in Pool A in Hong Kong, alongside Samoa, France and Kenya.
New Zealand sevens squad:
Pita Ahki, Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Gillies Kaka, Liam Messam, Tim Mikkelson (captain),
Sione Molia, Lewis Ormond, Teddy Stanaway, Isaac Te Tamaki, Regan Ware, Sonny
Not considered because of injury:
Scott Curry, Billy Ropiha, Joe Webber
Rugby players Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane, Augustine Pulu and Ardie Savea
available for final two tournaments in Paris and London. Ben Lam is out