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Rugby Championship
Hansen confirms SBW in selection mix
ESPN Staff
July 28, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams fronts the media to confirm his Chiefs exit, Hamilton, New Zealand, July 9, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams announced earlier this month that he would be quitting New Zealand at the end of the current Super Rugby campaign © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Steve Hansen | Sonny Bill Williams
Tournaments/Tours: Rugby Championship
Teams: New Zealand

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that he will consider departing centre Sonny Bill Williams for selection for the forthcoming Rugby Championship.

Williams announced earlier this month that he will leave New Zealand at the end of the Super Rugby season in favour of a move to Japanese side the Wild Knights with a return to rugby league reportedly in the pipeline in 2013.

His decision was expected to curtail his international career due to the fact he will be unavailable for the bulk of the Rugby Championship and also the end of year tour of Europe but Hansen has refused to discount the 26-year-old from his plans for the early part of the expanded battle for the southern hemisphere crown.

Hansen reportedly told TVNZ that the Chiefs star could feature in the opening back-to-back Tests against Australia when players who have committed their futures overseas are normally not considered. New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed that Williams' presence in this year's Super Rugby competition meant that he was eligible.

A 28-man squad will be named on August 5, before the opening Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies in Sydney on August 18.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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