• SBW to miss Rugby Champs opener

    World Rugby has confirmed that Sonny Bill Williams' suspension will include the All Blacks' opening Rugby Championship match against Australia.

    Williams was handed a four-match ban after being red-carded in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions, but the All Blacks hoped he could be seen to have served his time before the clash in Sydney on 19 August.

    Although New Zealand sought to include a Counties Manukau trial match as part of Williams' ban, World Rugby ruled that the matches involved in his suspension must have 'a meaningful consequence for the player'.

    'Accordingly, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including August 19,' a statement read.

    New Zealand Rugby responded on Friday to say that they would take up the matter on appeal.

    Photo: Marty Melville/AFP Photo

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    Craig Lewis