Kiwi star Sonny Bill back for Hong Kong sevens


Wellington (AFP)

Sonny Bill Williams was named Thursday in New Zealand's squad for next week's Hong Kong Sevens after shaking off a knee injury that sidelined him for two tournaments.

The cross-code superstar is participating in this year's World Sevens series with an eye on making the Rio Olympics when the shortened version makes its Games' debut in August.

Coach Gordon Tietjens said the 30-year-old was raring to go after a swollen knee kept him out of the Las Vegas and Vancouver legs of World Sevens Series.

"Sonny is coming off the back of two very good tournaments in Sydney and Wellington and wants to get back into it," Tietjens said after naming him in his 14-man squad for the next two legs of the series in Hong Kong (April 8-10) and Singapore (April 16-17).

"He's been training well and will be looking forward to Hong Kong."

Williams contributed to New Zealand's Rugby World Cup victories in 2011 and 2015, as well as winning a Super Rugby title with the Waikato Chiefs in 2012.

He also has two rugby league premierships from Australia's NRL in the trophy cabinet and successfully dabbled in boxing, winning all seven of his heavyweight bouts.

However, he has said he rates becoming an Olympian as the greatest feat an athlete could achieve.

Tietjens said Williams was working hard and loved the Sevens culture, adding the excitement surrounding the Olympics was building for everyone as the Sevens series progresses.

"All teams can sense we're not far away from Rio," he said. "They’re still trialling different players and that's what we've done here. We all want to improve at every tournament."

New Zealand are currently third in the World Sevens standings behind Fiji and South Africa.