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New Zealand Rugby
All Blacks forced to wait on Williams
ESPN Staff
August 10, 2012
Chiefs centre Sonny Bill Williams celebrates a late try, Chiefs v Sharks, Super Rugby Final, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, August 4, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams celebrates the Chiefs' Super Rugby triumph © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Steve Hansen | Sonny Bill Williams
Tournaments/Tours: Rugby Championship
Teams: New Zealand

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has revealed that they are still waiting for clearance from Sonny Bill Williams' new side the Wild Knights to allow the talismanic centre to play for the Kiwis in the Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks played two 20 minute matches against Auckland and Counties Manukau on Friday but Williams was absent. Hansen claims that he is "99% sure" that Williams will be able to link up with the Kiwis ahead of their tournament opener against the Wallabies on August 18.

Hansen told reporters: "There's no point us panicking. We'll have it sorted by hopefully the weekend and then he'll be into it."

The tournament will be Hansen's first outing as All Blacks coach and he is relishing the test of taking on Australia, South Africa and Argentina and trying to build on their 2011 World Cup success.

"It's going to be a really, really big challenge from a player point of view but I think there is just as big a challenge for ourselves about 'How do we get better?' both individually and collectively," Hansen said. "If we can crack that nut then we have got enough talent to be a pretty handy side."

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