SINGAPORE - One of rugby's biggest stars, Sonny Bill Williams, will be part of the New Zealand Sevens squad that will compete in the Hong Kong and Singapore leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The 30-year-old winger/centre, who helped his country win the World Cup last year, was one of 14 players selected for the April 8-10 and April 16-17 ties at the Hong Kong Stadium and Singapore's National Stadium, the All Blacks announced on its website on Wednesday.
Since making the switch from rugby league in 2008, Williams has blossomed into one of the game's most dynamic playmakers, able to both shrug off tackles and dish out pin-point passes.
An injury had ruled Williams and teammate Isaac Te Tamaki from the recent tournaments in Las Vegas and Vancouver but both men have proved their fitness to coach Gordon Tietjens, who has also retained flanker and World Cup winner Liam Messam.
"Isaac is probably our fastest player. He has that x factor and can break out and do things out of nothing so he's a real threat," said Tietjens.
"Sonny Bill and Liam are back in the reckoning. Liam had a very good final in Vancouver and will want to back that up in Hong Kong.
"Sonny is coming off the back of two very good tournaments in Sydney and Wellington and wants to get back into it. He's been training well and will be looking forward to Hong Kong.
"Sonny and Liam love the sevens culture and are both very hard workers. They mix in really well and want to stake their claims to be in the team to go to Rio."
The All Blacks are currently third in the series after winning the recent Canada Sevens in Vancouver, their third win of the last four World Series legs.
With four more legs to go, they are third in the standings on 104 points, with South Africa second on 105 points and defending champions Fiji a further point ahead in first place.
Tickets for the Singapore leg, which start from $50, are still available and can be purchased online at www.singapore7s.sg.