All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has been ruled out of the Olympics after partially rupturing his Achilles tendon.
Williams went down in the second half during New Zealand’s shock loss to Japan and was ruled out shortly after full-time.
The injury will most likely have Bledisloe ramifications as Williams was selected in the All Blacks’ squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Speaking after their historic first-ever win over New Zealand, Japan’s Lomano Lemeki highlighted the importance of Williams.
“He’s like a main weapon in the New Zealand so that was our gameplan, just try to stop him, especially in offloading,” Lemeki said.
“Sonny Bill’s a good player, no doubt.”
“I think the Japanese boys started to smile a little bit because the wouldn’t have to tackle him!”
22-year old Sione Molia comes into the 12-man squad after travelling as a non-playing reserve.
Fellow All Black Liam Messam is also in Brazil and is also expected to come into New Zealand’s squad after Joe Weber suffered an arm injury.
New Zealand will take on Kenya later on day one before a clash with Great Britain on day two.