WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is confident center Sonny Bill Williams will have completed a four-match suspension in time to play in the first Bledisloe Cup test against Australia next month.
Williams was sent off in the second test against the British and Irish Lions on July 1 for a dangerous shoulder charge on Lions winger Anthony Watson. He was only the third All Blacks player to be sent off in a rugby test, and the first in 50 years.
Williams received a four-match suspension which caused him to miss the third Lions test and the Blues' Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend. Hansen hopes that by missing a friendly match involving his Counties-Manukau provincial side and a club match, Williams will have completed his suspension in time for the Aug. 19 Bledisloe Cup opener.
He told Radio Sport on Thursday that Williams will be available to play against the Wallabies one way or another.
"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 (Rugby Championship) and Bledisloe starts."