Sonny Bill set to face Blitzboks


The Blitzboks, who are joint World Rugby Sevens Series leaders with Fiji on 35 points, have drawn New Zealand, Scotland and Russia in Pool A of the Wellington Sevens on January 30-31 next year.

And with the New Zealand Sevens side decimated by injuries this season, the time is right to introduce Williams into the shortened format of the game ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Williams and Messam are two of the 15-man stars who have agreed to play Sevens for New Zealand to boost their chances of winning the goal medal in Brazil.

Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens’s side have had a poor start to the World Rugby Sevens Series this season, with a four-placed finish in Dubai, while they crashed out of the Cape Town Sevens at the weekend at the Cup quarter-final stage after losing to Canada and Argentina. They also went down in the Plate semi-finals to the USA, their third consecutive defeat to the Americans.

New Zealand have suffered six major injuries to key players such as captain Scott Curry, senior players Tim Mikkelson and Gillies Kaka and are banking on introducing Williams and Messam on home soil in Wellington.

New Zealand rugby website reports that outstanding young loose forward Ardie Savea could also be unleashed in Wellington, and former All Blacks star Christian Cullen believes that Williams could be just what the Kiwis need to get back on track ahead of the Olympics.

Cullen played sevens rugby for New Zealand in the early stages of his career, winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

“That second day when the bodies are getting sore and tired, our boys have always been pretty fit… at the Olympics, these muscle-bound explosive players will only have to back up one match in the morning, one in the afternoon,” Cullen told

“So it won’t be like you are playing one after another where the body is tired, and it comes down to an attitude thing. The Olympics are going to be really interesting and maybe that’s where the guys like Sonny Bill are going to really come into their own.

“Sonny Bill by all accounts might be in Wellington, and that’s a big tournament to come in for your first one. I’m like everyone else, watching with interest.

“It’s going to be good for fans… I understand they’re struggling to sell tickets, so it’ll be good if people come along to see him.”


Original source: Sonny Bill set to face Blitzboks