2016 Hong Kong rugby sevens: Sonny Bill Williams back for New Zealand
Sonny Bill Williams has been named to make his return from injury in a 14-strong All Blacks Sevens squad for the Hong Kong and Singapore world series tournaments.
Coach Gordon Tietjens says Williams has recovered from the minor knee injury which kept him out of the Vancouver tournament earlier this month.
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Also back from injury is the speedy Isaac Te Tamaki, while Liam Messam has been named as he continues his return to sevens rugby.
“Sonny Bill and Liam are back in the reckoning – Liam had a very good final in Vancouver and will want to back that up in Hong Kong,” said Tietjens ahead of the tournament which runs from April 8-10.
Back on the field: Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: Getty Images
“Sonny is coming off the back of two very good tournaments in Sydney and Wellington and wants to get back into it. He’s been training well and will be looking forward to Hong Kong.
“Sonny and Liam love the sevens culture and are both very hard workers. They mix in really well and want to stake their claims to be in the team to go to Rio.”
Wider training group player Sione Molia wins selection after impressing in Vancouver, while Pita Ahki returns to provide invaluable experience following the loss of Joe Webber and Ben Lam to injury.
Ahki last played for New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and was also part of the 2013 World Cup sevens-winning team.
Scott Curry, Billy Ropiha, Lam and Webber weren’t considered because of injury, while Super Rugby players Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane, Augustine Pulu and Ardie Savea will be available for selection for the final two tournaments in Paris and London.
The All Blacks Sevens are currently third in the series after winning the recent Canada Sevens in Vancouver, two points behind leaders Fiji.
All Blacks Sevens: 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 Bill Williams.