Williams to miss Bledisloe Cup opener
Sonny Bill Williams will miss New Zealand's Rugby Championship clash against Australia as the All Blacks named a 34-man squad for the two Bledisloe Cup Tests.
Williams is set to play two games with Counties Manukau, including their Mitre 10 Cup opener, while missing the meeting with the Wallabies in Perth on August 10.
However, the 33-year-old will re-join the All Blacks squad for their clash against Australia in Auckland a week later.
Nepo Laulala will also play for Counties but he will join up with New Zealand for the first game in Perth.
"Bledisloe Cup Tests are always massive Tests," All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said in a release on Wednesday.
"We know that the Wallabies will be confident after their win over Argentina and desperate to win this first match, so we're looking forward to getting to Perth and getting into our Test preparation.
"The Bledisloe Cup is the second most important trophy for us, after the Rugby World Cup, and we're really looking forward to the next two Tests coming up.
"Two weeks together will give us solid preparation towards growing our game understanding and getting our execution honed, so that's exciting.
"The last time the All Blacks played in Perth was way back in 1992 [against a Western Australia side] but this will be an historic first Test for us in the city, so we're also looking forward to catching up with our fans over there."
The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003, while they are second to South Africa in the Rugby Championship ahead of the final matches of the tournament.
New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Scott Barrett, George Bridge, Sam Cane, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Braydon Ennor, Vaea Fifita, Owen Franks, Jack Goodhue, Jackson Hemopo, Rieko Ioane, Luke Jacobson, Nepo Laulala, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Joe Moody, Atu Moli, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read, Sevu Reece, Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Angus Ta'avao, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brad Weber, Samuel Whitelock, Sonny Bill Williams.