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Williams misses training

Date

Duncan Johnstone

Missing ... Sonny Bill Williams.

Missing ... Sonny Bill Williams.

SONNY BILL WILLIAMS was absent from All Blacks training again yesterday but management remain hopeful he will be in the mix for Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia.

The All Blacks trained behind closed doors in Auckland and there was no sign of Williams. He remains in the middle of a contract web between his new Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights and the New Zealand Rugby Union, which wants him available for the consecutive clashes against Australia because of midfield injury problems to Conrad Smith on top of the earlier loss of Richard Kahui.

''It's pretty close … we're pretty hopeful,'' All Blacks manager Darren Shand said last night. ''There are a number of parties that have to be happy … a number of pieces of a jigsaw that have to be put together.''

With the Test that opens the new Rugby Championship looming quickly, Shand said there was a desire to get things resolved ''earlier rather than later''.

The All Blacks are training in Auckland, leaving for Sydney on Thursday night for the match.

Williams had a medical on Friday to satisfy his Japanese club of his fitness after an arduous Super Rugby campaign, which ended with the superstar scoring the final try in the Chiefs' grand final win over the Sharks last Saturday.

The All Blacks are comfortable Williams can get back up to speed quickly with their methods. He starred in the clean sweep of Ireland in June. In the meantime, they have been using Ma'a Nonu, Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith in various midfield combinations.

Skipper Richie McCaw made it clear he expected Williams to be in the mix. ''With Conrad injured, having Sonny, Ma'a and Tamati available in the midfield certainly helps,'' he said.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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