Sonny Bill in the clear for Bledisloe opener

International
AAP
by AAP

Missing a couple of pre-season matches will allow Sonny Bill Williams to return from suspension to face the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup series opener in Sydney.

All Blacks centre Williams copped a four-match ban for his shoulder charge on British and Irish Lions winger Anthony Watson in the recent second Test loss, missing the drawn third Test.

He also missed the Blues' final Super Rugby season clash with the Sunwolves in Tokyo last week.

Sonny Bill Wiliams was red carded in the second Lions Test. Photo: Getty ImagesAll Blacks coach Steve Hansen has confirmed Williams will be allowed to count two upcoming provincial pre-season matches for Counties-Manakau towards his ban.

In fact, Hansen is hoping the dual international will be able to count a club rugby match before one of those games, which would allow him to return for the All Blacks' warm up against Taranaki and Counties one week prior to the August 19 first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney.

"There's one game that's a bit contentious about whether they are going to consider it or not," Hansen told NZ's Radio Sport, referring to the club game.

"If that's not the case then we'll get him back just for the Test match.

"If it's considered then we'll get him back for the game of three halves that we play every year before the ... Bledisloe starts."

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