Sonny Bill Williams will miss the first Bledisloe Cup Test between Australia and New Zealand after World Rugby confirmed his ban would run until Aug. 20, reports ESPN
All Blacks centre Williams was sent off in his side’s second Test defeat to the British & Irish Lions for a shoulder charge on Anthony Watson.
Earlier this month he was handed a four-week suspension, which equates in practice to four matches under World Rugby regulations.
The All Blacks had hoped to have Williams available again by Aug. 6 but the fourth match put forward, between Counties Manukau A and B a day previously, failed to meet criteria set by the global governing body.
World Rugby has also ruled that the All Blacks’ pre-Rugby Championship warm-up on Aug. 11, that involves both Counties Manukau and Taranaki, did not qualify as it will be played over three periods of 40 minutes.
All of which means the Rugby Championship opener between New Zealand and the Wallabies on Aug. 19 will now count as the fourth and final game of the ban, with Williams not available for selection until the All Blacks host Australia in Dunedin a week later.