SONNY BILL WILLIAMS is set to miss out on New Zealand’s two Tests against Ireland in November due to an Achilles tendon injury suffered at the Rio Olympics.
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew told Newstalk ZB that Williams will be sidelined for six to nine months.
Williams hobbled off during yesterday’s defeat to Japan. Source: Photosport//INPHO
Williams arrived at the Olympics as a star name in the New Zealand 7s squad, but was forced off injured during the shock 14-12 pool stage defeat to Japan yesterday.
The imposing midfielder – who joins the Blues on a three-year contract ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby season – had been named in Steve Hansen’s All Blacks squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Williams’ return to 15-a-side rugby will be heavily delayed, however, with a partial tear of his Achilles tendon meaning he will also miss this year’s November Tests. The 31-year-old will hope he can recover in the shorter time frame of the six-to-nine-month diagnosis, with the 2017 Super Rugby season beginning in late February.
It had been anticipated that Williams would make a return to the All Blacks’ 12 shirt in the coming months, but Hansen will now plan to beat Ireland twice in November without the superstar.
The remaining midfield options in Hansen’s Rugby Championship squad are Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa and George Moala, while Seta Tamanivalu and Anton Lienert-Brown joined the squad for a training camp earlier this month.