New Zealand Men’s Sevens player Sonny Bill Williams will be out for nine months after partially rupturing his Achilles.
The New Zealand Olympic coaching staff said that the famous code-crosser will be out for up to nine months which is unfortunate for the variety of teams Williams plays for.
He was supposed to join the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship after the Olympics were over. The length of time also means that he will be out for the beginning of the 2017 Super Rugby competition where he will play for the Blues.
Williams was injured during New Zealand’s shock 14-12 loss to Japan in their first outing of the Games. The former New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion was crocked when he took contact with two Japanese defenders during the outing.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew confirmed the lengthy period Williams will be out for.
“He will be out of rugby for six to nine months … He will be unavailable for the All Blacks and Steve Hansen and the other coaches will have to start thinking about a replacement. Whoever gets that chance will make the most of it,” Tew told Newstalk ZB.
The All Blacks are never short in positional depth as they have a plethora of midfield talent with Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Seta Tamanivalu and Charlie Ngatai waiting in the wings. But nevertheless All Black hooker Dane Coles lamented the loss of the off-load expert.
“It’s obviously very gutting. He’s a world class player, but the thing with the All Blacks is when someone gets an opportunity, they usually step up, so I don’t know who they’re going to call in, but I’m sure whoever gets that chance, they’ll step up.”
The New Zealand Men’s Sevens next game will be against Great Britain on Wednesday.