Sonny Bill in, McKenzie out

Sonny Bill Williams has been included in the All Blacks' 32-man squad for the Rugby Championship, with Damian McKenzie dropped.

Williams is currently with the New Zealand Sevens squad in Rio for the Olympic Games, and could play in the All Blacks' second Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies in Wellington on 27 August.

McKenzie, who was part of the All Blacks squad for the series against Wales in June but didn't get any game time, has been left out for the Rugby Championship, because the national selectors wanted to include three scrumhalves.

'Disappointed, but he did his best to hide that,' said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen when asked how McKenzie reacted to his omission. 'We expect him to be – we want him to be disappointed.

'We had a good conversation about where he is going, and when he is going to get there and what will happen when he gets there. He has got a good understanding of what will happen to him.'

The All Blacks squad will assemble on Thursday for a two-day camp on Auckland's North Shore minus the five Hurricanes who are preparing for this Saturday's Super Rugby final.

Six additional players will also attend the camp: McKenzie, Seta Tamanivalu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Steven Luatua, Melani Nanai and Matt Todd.

The All Blacks will reassemble in Auckland next Thursday to prepare for the opening match of the Rugby Championship against Australia in Sydney on 20 August.

The squad will play training matches against Counties Manukau and Northland in Pukekohe on Friday, 12 August.

All Blacks squad:

Forwards: Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Elliot Dixon, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read (c), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Gettty Images

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Simon Borchardt