Williams deal done

Sonny Bill Williams trained with the All Blacks on Monday and will start against Australia on Saturday after the New Zealand Rugby Union agreed a two-week loan deal with his Japanese club.

Williams is property of the Panasonic Wild Knights, the Top League club he’ll represent for a short period prior to his return to rugby league. Complications around his Test availability arose when the Knights demanded assurances they would be compensated accordingly should the star midfielder be injured.

This has seen Williams miss a number of training sessions, but he returned to the mix today and is set to start at inside centre alongside Ma’a Nonu against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday. Fitness permitting, Williams will also play the second Bledisloe Test, in Auckland next week, before joining the Knights.

Williams was joined in training by Chiefs team-mates Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Craig Clarke as well as Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett, who weren’t named in the squad but are seen as potential replacements to the incumbents.

The All Blacks name their team on Thursday afternoon and travel to Sydney that night.