Sonny Bill cleared to box, may return for Boks

The Rugby Championship
by AAP

The battered and bruised All Blacks listed Sonny Bill Williams as a possible starter against South Africa next week after he spent three months sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Concussion-prone Ryan Crotty was also declared fit to go, and lock Patrick Tuipulotu earned a recall on news that Brodie Retallick and Ngani Laumape would be out for several weeks after being injured in Saturday's hard-fought 46-24 win over Argentina in Nelson.

Retallick could be out for up to six weeks with a shoulder injury while Laumape, brought into the squad as injury cover, faces missing three weeks with a damaged knee.

But coach Steve Hansen said Crotty and Sam Cane had recovered from head knocks suffered against Australia early in the Rugby Championship, while Rieko Ioane -- recovering from a hamstring injury -- and Williams were also in the frame for selection.

Crotty and Cane could have played against Argentina "but we just chose to give them another week", Hansen said Sunday.

"Sonny, he'll get an X-ray (on his shoulder) again on Monday and if everything's clear there, he'll be available as well."

Williams, who missed the first two Tests against France in June following knee surgery, played 58 minutes of the third Test before injuring his shoulder and has been out of action ever since.

Hansen also said the All Blacks had given Williams the all clear to resume a fledgling boxing career in December.

Williams will return to the ring on December 1 in Sydney in the headline fight of the "Banger under the Hanger" promotion against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

The fight falls on the weekend after the All Blacks' final Test of the year, against Italy in Rome.

Steve Hansen says people should focus on the positive. Photo: Getty ImagesCoach Steve Hansen has received assurances from Williams and his agent Khoder Nasser that the fight will have no impact on his training and playing during the November tour of Europe.

"I think he's just going to get off the plane and do it. It's the sort of athlete he is," Hansen said.

"He's pretty confident. Khoder's confident that what's going to take place won't be of hindrance to him.

"So you've got to back their judgement."

The fight promotion is to raise money for a worthy cause and Hansen understands it won't be as physically demanding as Williams' seven professional fights, which he has won.

His most recent bout was nearly four years ago against Kiwi-based American Chauncy Welliver.

Former NRL star Williams has previously had a "boxing clause" in his NZ Rugby contract.

The 33-year-old is the oldest member of this year's All Blacks squad and has battled knee and shoulder injures this season.

His lone Test appearance came against France in June before he limped off injured in the second half.

Hansen was unconcerned his first-choice inside centre was putting the gloves back on.

"No. We've got guys boxing all the time as part of their training," he said.

"It's more of an exhibition fight than a go down and knock yourself out fight, if that makes sense."

The All Blacks host South Africa in Wellington on Saturday September 15, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.