New Zealand
SBW eligible for tour after '10 minutes off bench'
ESPN Staff
July 4, 2014
Sonny Bill Williams could be back in an All Blacks jumper as soon as November © Getty Images

Sonny Bill Williams needs to play just "10 minutes off the bench" for Ranfurly Shield holders Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup to be eligible for All Blacks selection on the end-of-year tour.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew confirmed to Fairfax Media in New Zealand that Williams' "contract allows for that and our policy allows for that provided he plays in the [ITM Cup]".

"Whether that's the right thing for Sonny Bill Williams to go on the tour, or whether he's good enough to go on that tour, are for other people to decide," Tew said.

"The policy is a little open ended - just that you play in the preceding competition. I guess you could say 10 minutes off the bench [for Counties] might tick the box.

The Rugby World Cup, Super Rugby and National Rugby League premiership winner is returning to union at the end of the 2014 NRL competition, after two seasons with Sydney Roosters, but his availability for the All Blacks' tour will depend on his fitness and how far the Sydney Roosters progress towards the NRL grand final on October 5.

"The more important questions are what is the right thing for him to be in the best shape possible for rugby in 2015, and who are the best players to deliver the outcomes [All Blacks coach] Steve [Hansen] wants to deliver," Tew told Fairfax.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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