World Rugby baffled as Sonny Bill Williams is Freed to play again. The global governing body of the sport released a statement earlier today underlining its surprise that the New Zealand player has been cleared for the Rugby Championship opener.
The statement made by World Rugby us as follows:
While World Rugby respects the decision of the independent appeal committee to uphold the appeal by New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams against the matches that counted towards his four-week suspension, it is surprised by the committee’s interpretation of the definition of “match” (which is defined in Regulation 1 as “a game in which two teams compete against each other”).
With the appeal process having been exhausted, World Rugby will refer the interpretation of the regulation to the Regulations Committee when it meets in September to examine the findings in the context of the game’s regulations to ensure universal clarity and compliance with the meaning of the regulation moving forward.
Also unsatisfied with the outcome was World Rugby Vice Chairman, Agustín Pichot. The former Pumas captain tweeted that he was not in agreement with the outcome for the independent committee.
Pichot also pointed out that the New Zealand’s training matches against Countres Manukau and Taranaki ought factor in. Both are, as Pichot noted, to be 40 minutes each in duration. The Argentine underlined his dissatisfaction in this as he accused New Zealand of making-up matches to get their star player cleared.
New Zealand play away to Australia in the opening Rugby Championship match. Williams had been blocked by World Rugby from playing in the match on Saturday, August 19. The outcome from the independent committee has seen this overruled with Williams now free to play.
Argentina’s matches against New Zealand this year will be in New Plymouth and Buenos Aires. New Zealand has home advantage on September 09. Argentina will host the reverse fixture on September 30.