Not so fast, World Rugby tells SBW

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Williams has already served half of his suspension, sitting out the third Test against the Lions and Blues' last Super Rugby match of the season against the Sunwolves.

All of which means the Rugby Championship opener between New Zealand and the Wallabies on August 19 will now count as the fourth and final game of the ban, with Williams not available for selection until the All Blacks host Australia in Dunedin a week later.

Yesterday World Rugby confirmed the suspension would run until August 19th, the day of the first Test against Australia in Sydney.

The All Blacks centre was dismissed for a unsafe shoulder charge on Lions winger Anthony Watson in the Lions second test in Wellington earlier this month and suspended for four matches.

On the 11th the All Blacks are set to play a game of three-halves against Counties Manukau and Taranaki as a part of their buildup to the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand are appealing against the way World Rugby have applied Sonny Bill Williams' suspension for the red card he received during the match against the British & Irish Lions.

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"As the matter will now be decided by an appeal committee, no further comment will be made at this time".

It said when rugby authorities imposed a ban the matches involved must have "a meaningful effect for the player".

Williams, 31, became the first All Black in 50 years to be sent off in a Test match when he shoulder charged Watson in the 25th minute of the Lions game in Wellington.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said earlier this month that he was confident the centre would be available to face Australia in Sydney on August 19.

"Following due consideration, the disciplinary committee has ruled that Williams' suspension will extend up to and including August 19".

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