1 Aug 2017

Williams ban appeal underway

7:19 am on 1 August 2017

An appeal by Sonny Bill Williams against the four-match ban that rules him out of the first Bledisloe Cup clash against the Wallabies will be heard later today.

sonny bill red card

sonny bill red card Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks centre was handed the suspension for his second Test send-off against the British & Irish Lions earlier this month.

Williams became the first All Black in 50 years to be sent off in a Test when he was red-carded for a shoulder charge on Lions winger Anthony Watson early in the 24-21 loss in Wellington.

He missed the drawn third Test with the Lions, and the Blues' final Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves.

Two pre-season Counties-Manukau matches, one against North Harbour and one an inter-squad match, were presented by NZ Rugby to the World Rugby Judicial Committee as completing the four-match ban.

But the disciplinary committee ruled the inter-squad match did not meet the grade as a meaningful match.

Williams faces sitting out the first Test against Australia on August 19 in Sydney if he loses the appeal.

The appeal will be heard early this evening via video conference before a committee chaired by Mr Justice Graeme Mew (Canada) along with Shao- Ing Wang (Singapore) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa).