SBW left out of All Blacks Sevens squad

Sonny Bill Williams has been omitted from the All Blacks Sevens squad to contest the fifth round of the world series in Las Vegas.

Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said in a statement he had chosen to rest the code-hopper, following “pleasing” performances at tournaments in Wellington and Sydney, both won by New Zealand.

Before leaving for Las Vegas, Tietjens said 30-year-old Williams was ahead of where he expected him to be in adapting to a sport he had never previously played.

Tietjens has also left out experienced back Sherwin Stowers when reducing his 14-strong travelling squad to 12 ahead of the three-day tournament starting on Friday.

Speedsters Sione Molia and Josh van Lieshout will both make their world series debut, having shone for the victorious Counties Manukau at the sevens national championships.

Tietjens has also handed a recall to Liam Messam who, like his Chiefs and All Blacks team-mate Williams, has ditched any 15-a-side aspirations this year to pursue sevens selection for the Rio Olympics.

Messam is a former New Zealand sevens captain who last played when they won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

New Zealand share the series lead with Fiji and South Africa, having made a slow start at the tournaments in Dubai and Captain.

They have never won the Las Vegas Sevens, having finished runners-up in five out of the six tournaments there.

Their relatively lightweight pool features Kenya, Portugal and Russia.


Tim Mikkelson (capt), Kurt Baker, Dylan Collier, Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Gillies Kaka, Josh Van Lieshout, Liam Messam, Sione Molia, Lewis Ormond, Beaudein Waaka, Regan Ware.

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