Williams to appeal suspension decision

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams will appeal World Rugby's decision to extend his suspension through to the Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Sydney on August 19.

This, after the game's governing body ruled out two of the three matches submitted as part of Williams' suspension – for his shoulder charge on British and Irish Lions wing Anthony Watson in Wellington on July 1 – confirming the 31-year-old's four-week ban would extend through until the first Bledisloe Cup Test.

But New Zealand Rugby released a statement on Friday which confirmed an appeal by Williams.

"Sonny Bill Williams has appealed the World Rugby judicial committee's decision not to include the All Blacks match on 11 August in the four-week suspension given to Williams following a hearing into the red card he received in the second test against the touring British & Irish Lions," the statement said.

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

NZ Rugby had submitted matches in the form of All Blacks warm-up game against Taranaki and Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on August 11, a Counties inter-squad clash and an Mitre 10 Cup pre-season match as fixtures to count in Williams' suspension.

But World Rugby released a statement which ruled that Williams' suspension would need to extend to include the test against Australia in Sydney.

"Since the hearing on 2 July, the disciplinary committee has been receiving and reviewing additional submissions and evidence from the player's side relating to his upcoming schedule of matches," said the statement.

"Following due consideration, the disciplinary committee has ruled that Williams' suspension will extend up to and including 19 August. As such, he is free to play again from 20 August." 

Williams has already served two of the four matches of his ban after sitting out the third Test against the Lions in Auckland and he also missed the Blues' shock loss to the Sunwolves in Tokyo in the final round of Super Rugby's regular season.

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