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Sonny Bill to appeal Rugby Championship opener ban

Reuters logo Reuters 29/07/2017

Sonny Bill Williams © Getty Images Sonny Bill Williams Sonny Bill Williams has appealed against a ruling that would see him miss New Zealand's Rugby Championship opener against Australia next month for the red card he received during the British and Irish Lions series.

The All Blacks centre was dismissed for a dangerous shoulder charge on Lions winger Anthony Watson in the Lions second test in Wellington earlier this month and suspended for four matches.

New Zealand Rugby hoped Williams could serve the ban by missing the third Lions test, the final match of the Auckland Blues' Super Rugby season and two other games before the Wallabies test.

They proposed counting a pre-season match for his National Provincial Championship (NPC) side Counties Manukau and a "three-way" warm-up match played by the All Blacks against two NPC sides as the two games.

A three-man judicial committee said the latter match was insufficiently meaningful and World Rugby said the ban would expire after the game against the Wallabies on Aug. 19.

"Sonny Bill Williams has appealed the World Rugby Judicial Committee's decision not to include the All Blacks match on 11 August in the four week suspension," NZR said

Williams was the first All Black to be sent off in a test for half a century.

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