Sonny Bill a possible starter: coach

Source:AFP Published: 2018/9/9 22:11:57

The battered and bruised All Blacks listed Sonny Bill Williams as a possible starter against South Africa this week after he spent three months sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Concussion-prone Ryan Crotty was also declared fit to go, and lock Patrick Tuipulotu earned a recall on news that Brodie Retallick and Ngani Laumape would be out for several weeks after being injured in Saturday's hard-fought 46-24 win over Argentina in Nelson, New Zealand.

Retallick could be out for up to six weeks with a shoulder injury while Laumape, brought into the squad as injury cover, faces missing three weeks with a damaged knee.

But coach Steve Hansen said Crotty and Sam Cane had recovered from head knocks suffered against Australia early in the Rugby Championship, while Rieko Ioane - recovering from a hamstring injury - and Williams were also in the frame for selection.

"Sonny, he'll get an X-ray [on his shoulder] again on Monday and if everything's clear there, he'll be available as well," Hansen said Sunday.

Williams, who missed the first two Tests against France in June following knee surgery, played 58 minutes of the third Test before injuring his shoulder and has been out of action ever since.

The All Blacks' six-tries-to-three win over Argentina kept them well in front in the Rugby Championship, with 15 points from three bonus-point wins.

South Africa, Argentina and Australia have one win each, with South Africa second on the table courtesy of two bonus points.


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