You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Williams siblings off to Olympic sevens

NZN 3/07/2016

Sonny Bill Williams and sister Niall have completed a family double by being named in the respective New Zealand men's and women's sevens teams for the Rio Olympics.

Sonny Bill, 30, has played 33 Tests and been part of two World Cup-winning campaigns with the All Blacks.

The dual league and rugby international sat out Super Rugby this year to concentrate on trying to make the Rio Games in August.

Niall, a 28-year-old mother of two, has a background in touch and switched to sevens last year.

Sonny Bill admits it was a nerve-wracking day for both of them, waiting anxiously on the final announcements.

"Of course I was nervous, because it's such a talented squad we have," he said.

"I knew players were coming back from injury and Titch had to pick the best side he could just to compete over there. It was a pretty nerve-wracking day.

"But the biggest cheer we had in our household was when my sister made it - we're really proud of her and it's awesome, seeing where she's come from."

But while Sonny Bill is in the 12-man men's squad, there is no place for another All Black who focused on sevens in 2016, loose forward Liam Messam.

Messam tweeted: "Congrats to my @nz7s brothers, Im on standby in case of injury I'll be ready if needed, Have to keep match fit so back to the @ChiefsRugby".

The line-up includes veteran DJ Forbes, who last year gave up the captaincy in a bid to get himself in the best shape to get selected for Rio, where sevens will make its debut at the Olympics.

It also features the return of Scott Curry, who will skipper the side for the first time since injuring his shoulder at the Dubai round of the world series in December.

Sonny Bill says it's thanks to players like those that his understanding of the sevens game has improved hugely over the past year.

"I'm really happy with where I am at at this stage but I'm still working hard.

"I've been privileged to come into a side that has the likes of DJ Forbes, Tim Mikkelson, Scott Curry, those kind of guys that have taken me under their wing and really helped me out.

"This was the dream, going to the Olympics with that sevens side. Today, it' a really proud happy feeling, but tomorrow's when the hard work starts."

Men's sevens team: Scott Curry (captain), Sam Dickson, DJ Forbes, Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane, Gillies Kaka, Tim Mikkelson, Augustine Pulu, Teddy Stanaway, Regan Ware, Joe Webber, Sonny Bill Williams. Travelling reserves - Sione Molia, Lewis Ormond.

Women's sevens team: Shakira Baker, Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Sarah Goss (captain), Kayla McAlister, Huriana Manuel, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Terina Te Tamaki, Ruby Tui, Niall Williams, Portia Woodman. Travelling reserves - Michaela Blyde, Shiray Tane.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon