x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

All Blacks lock Williams out for season

The injury-ravaged All Blacks have suffered another blow ahead of their Tri-Nations title defence, with lock Ali Williams ruled out for the season through injury.

WELLINGTON // The injury-ravaged All Blacks have suffered another blow ahead of their Tri-Nations title defence, with lock Ali Williams ruled out for the season with an Achilles' injury. "Ali saw a specialist in Auckland yesterday and it was confirmed that he would require surgery on his right Achilles'," the All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson said in a statement today. "He will be out of rugby for up to four months."

Williams, a late withdrawal before New Zealand's scratchy 27-6 win over Italy last week, joins centre Richard Kahui, who suffered a serious shoulder injury at a training camp last month, on the sidelines for the rest of the season. Fly-half Daniel Carter is also not expected back for the All Blacks until their end of season tour in November after he ruptured his Achilles' while playing club rugby in France.

A number of other players are in doubt for the All Blacks clash with Australia on July 18, with shoulder injuries to wingers Rudi Wulf and Sitiveni Sivivatu, and a hand injury to loose forward Adam Thomson. Williams's absence may leave the door open for rookie Isaac Ross, who has impressed with his athletic ability and work in the lineout in the Tests against France and Italy, to cement his place in the squad.

*Reuters