In Summary
  • The World Rugby judiciary on Friday dashed New Zealand's hopes of fielding suspended star Sonny Bill Williams in the All Blacks' opening Rugby Championship match against Australia next month.
  • Williams was handed a four-match ban after being red-carded in the second Test loss to the British and Irish Lions, becoming the first All Black to be sent off in 50 years.
  • New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said earlier this month that he was confident the centre would be available to face Australia in Sydney on August 19.

WELLINGTON

The World Rugby judiciary on Friday dashed New Zealand's hopes of fielding suspended star Sonny Bill Williams in the All Blacks' opening Rugby Championship match against Australia next month.

Williams was handed a four-match ban after being red-carded in the second Test loss to the British and Irish Lions, becoming the first All Black to be sent off in 50 years.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said earlier this month that he was confident the centre would be available to face Australia in Sydney on August 19.

But the World Rugby judiciary disagreed, rejecting New Zealand's bid to include a Counties Manukau trial match as part of Williams' ban.

It said when rugby authorities imposed a ban the matches involved must have "a meaningful consequence for the player".

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