Sonny Bill’s appeal against ban successful, will play in Championship opener

New Zealand Rugby had proposed Williams could serve the ban by missing the third Lions test, the final match of the Auckland Blues’ Super Rugby season and two other games before the Wallabies test.

They proposed counting a pre-season match for his National Provincial Championship (NPC) side Counties Manukau and a “three-way” warm-up match played by the All Blacks against two NPC sides as the two games.

An independent committee came to conclusion in favour of Williams after an appeal, saying the match against Counties Manukau and Taranaki on August 11, which was initially left out of the suspension, complied with World Rugby’s definition of a “match”.

Therefore, Williams will now be suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including 11 August.

The All Blacks face the Wallabies in their Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on Aug. 19, with the return match against Australia in Dunedin the following week.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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