All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams successfully appeals ban

Rufina Vignone
Agosto 3, 2017

Williams was suspended for four matches after being sent off during the second test against the British and Irish Lions in July for a unsafe shoulder charge.

At the initial hearing, Williams" defence attempted to claim two fixtures before 19 August as "meaningful': Counties Manukau A v Counties Manukau B and also the 11 August "Game of Three Halves" warm-up fixture involving the All Blacks, Counties Manukau and Taranaki.

Williams was shown a straight red card for the shoulder-to-head contact and was handed a four-week ban - with one week equating to one match as long as World Rugby deemed that match meaningful and holding effect for the player.

Williams will now serve the final game of his suspension during the "game of three halves" on August 11, and be free to play in the Bledisloe opener on August 19.

World Rugby later responded to the ruling by issuing its own statement, insisting it will respect Williams' right to face Australia next month - but that it will seek clarity on just what represents a match among rugby's complex rules and regulations.

World Rugby said it was surprised by the decision of an independent panel to uphold Williams' appeal.

"With the appeal process having been exhausted, World Rugby will refer the interpretation of the regulation to the Regulations Committee when it meets in September to examine the findings in the context of the game's regulations to ensure universal clarity and compliance with the meaning of the regulation moving forward".

The All Blacks centre was suspended for a risky tackle on Anthony Watson during the second Test against the British and Irish Lions last month.

He received a four-week ban following the red card for a risky charge into the head of Lions wing Anthony Watson.

A World Rugby statement said: "An independent appeal committee has upheld an appeal by New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams against the matches counting towards his four-week suspension for risky charging".

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