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All Blacks non-starters for Commonwealth Games

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 12/10/2017
Sonny Bill Williams played for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics but he and other All Blacks won't be available for the Commonwealth Games. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Sonny Bill Williams played for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics but he and other All Blacks won't be available for the Commonwealth Games.

No All Blacks will play for the New Zealand men's Sevens team at next year's Commonwealth Games.

The national men's sevens squad for the 2017/18, which is only half finalised, are being put through their paces in Mt Maunganui by new coach Clark Laidlaw.

They kick off the season at the Oceania Sevens in Fiji in November before the first legs of the World Series in Dubai and Cape Town in December and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

While no All Blacks will be released for the Games, Laidlaw has a list of Super Rugby players he can call upon if required, though they'd only be released a month before the event, and he's giving first crack to his current squad members.

"With the Commonwealth Games you have to have players on a long list and there are Super rugby players in that group but we have to work out whether the players we have got, between now and January , are good enough to win the Commonwealth Games or if we need to add Super rugby players from the list we've got."

All Blacks had the option of making themselves available for the Rio Olympics but Laidlaw said they are off limits to him for the Commonwealth Games.

"The agreement with (NZ Rugby) at this stage is that we are not after All Blacks for the Games...they'll be in the middle of a Super rugby competition, it's not like traditionally when the Comm Games are in July-August when Super rugby has finished so it would be a little bit easier to try and transition guys in," he said.

"We realistic as to where the Comm Games sits in the New Zealand rugby calendar so we need to commit to the guys we've got and really try and develop them over the next two to three months," said Laidlaw.

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