French referee Jerome Garces prepares to show a red card to New Zealand inside centre Sonny Bill Williams (left) as captain Kieran Read looks on during the second Test between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks in Wellington.
French referee Jerome Garces prepares to show a red card to New Zealand inside centre Sonny Bill Williams (left) as captain Kieran Read looks on during the second Test between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks in Wellington. Mark Baker

Sonny Bill Williams eligible to face Wallabies in Bledisloe

BANNED All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams will be eligible to face the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup series-opener in Sydney on August 19.

Williams, who copped a four-match ban for his shoulder charge on British and Irish Lions winger Anthony Watson in the recent second Test loss, will sit out two upcoming provincial pre-season matches for Counties Manukau as part of his ban.

Having sat out the drawn third Lions Test and the Blues' final Super Rugby season clash with the Sunwolves in Tokyo last week, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Williams would be able to play the cup opener.

The All Blacks boss is hoping Williams can count another club rugby match in his ban to allow him to return for the All Blacks' warm-up against Taranaki and Counties one week earlier.

"There's one game that's a bit contentious about whether they are going to consider it or not," Hansen said.

"If that's not the case then we'll get him back just for the Test match.

"If it's considered then we'll get him back for the game of three halves that we play every year before the Bledisloe starts."

News Corp Australia


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