It has been confirmed that Chiefs duo Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam will lead the New Zealand Sevens Squad to Rio for the Olympics next year.
The squad was announced on Wednesday by Sir Gordon Tietjens, and the Chiefs pair will join up with new captain Scott Curry and Wellington’s Ardie Savea in the squad.
The squad announcement most certainly comes as a blow for the Chiefs’ Super Rugby campaign, as it is unlikely SBW and Messam will play a major part due to their Olympic commitments.
Titetjens spoke highly of SBW, but his comments suggest the All Black will be unavailable for Chiefs for the near future.
“Sonny Bill Williams is a great athlete and has shown he can adapt very easily to the demands of rugby. I see him adjusting very well to the fast pace of sevens. He’ll be a great attacking weapon with his speed, strength and uncanny ability to offload.
“We’re really pleased he’s committed to the full season. He knows competition for places will be intense so he’s giving himself the best chance of making the team for Rio.”
The full New Zealand Sevens Squad is as follows:
Dylan Collier (Waikato), Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty), Sam Dickson (Canterbury), DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau), Gillies Kaka (Hawke’s Bay), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Rieko Ioane (Auckland), Ben Lam (Auckland), Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Ardie Savea (Wellington), Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau), Sam Vaka (CountiesManukau), Beaudein Waaka (Taranaki), Joe Webber (Waikato), Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau)