New Zealand Sevens target Sonny Bill

Date published: January 18 2015

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Sonny Bill Williams is among the All Black stars being targeted for New Zealand’s Sevens squads at next year’s Olympics in Rio.

The New Zealand Rugby Union will announce their initial wider squad in May as they look at a number of All Blacks with previous sevens experience.

Ardie and Julian Savea, Liam Messam, Charles Piutau, Victor Vito, Ben Smith and Hosea Gear are all expected to be approached according to Stuff.co.nz, as well as Williams.

Those who are interested will then face a different preparation programme which could see their Super Rugby campaigns disrupted.

New Zealand general manager Neil Sorensen and player relationship manager Ben Castle will speak to the players over the next few months after deciding with coach Gordon Tietjens who could be of interest.

“Ben and I are going around in the next couple of months to talk to players Titch may be interested in about how it might work in 2016 in terms of whether they can play any Super Rugby and how many sevens tournaments they’d have to play,” Sorensen told Stuff.co.nz.

“It’s going to be personalised to a large extent.

“The Super Rugby teams need to know sooner than later so they can talk to other players. Knocking it off in May this year gives everyone certainty.

“You’re looking at a mix of specialist gurus, the experts who have played sevens for a few years, and a smattering of other players like Sonny Bill. I certainly don’t see it being eight All Blacks and four other guys. It won’t work like that.”

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes that Williams would still feature in Super Rugby, even if he does try to make the World Cup squad.

“There’s no doubt going to an Olympic Games is pretty special,” Rennie said.

“If he commits to sevens he’ll still play some Super Rugby. We just won’t have full access to him.

“With Sonny he couldn’t just play sevens and sit out for three weeks. We’ve certainly been talking to Titch around that.

“It’s going to be the same for all the franchises. If you’ve got some guys involved then you’ll get some access to them.”

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