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17
Sat, Aug

Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams will make his sevens debut for New Zealand in Wellington ©Getty Images

Team TTO in Rio 2016
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World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams will hope to stake his claim for a place in New Zealand's Olympic team for Rio 2016 when the third Sevens World Series event of the season gets underway in Wellington tomorrow.

The 30-year-old hopes to embark on a career in the shorter format of the game having been a member of the side which lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in England following New Zealand’s 34-17 victory over Australia at Twickenham Stadium last October.

Williams, who started as a rugby league player before switching codes in 2008, was also a part of the All Blacks team that claimed the Rugby World Cup crown on home soil in 2011 and is one of only 20 players to have won the tournament on two occasions.

His inclusion in the New Zealand team for the competition in Wellington, which concludes on Sunday (January 31), provides a boost to the host nation.

They have reigned supreme at the Wellington event in four of the past five years but have struggled so far this campaign, currently languishing in seventh place on the overall standings.

New Zealand are due to open their pursuit of a first victory of the season against Russia before they take on Scotland and South Africa in Pool A.

The Blitzboks, winners of the last Sevens World Series event in Cape Town, are second on the overall leaderboard behind Fiji.

They will be without last season’s World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok, as well as captain Kyle Brown, Cecil Afrika and Ryno Benjamin, who suffered an injury in training earlier this week.

The Fijians, led by coach Ben Ryan, will welcome back Semi Kunatani into the fold for the competition and he is just one try short of reaching the half-century mark.

Fiji have been placed in Pool B along with Argentina, Wales and Japan.

Kenya come into the event with the most experienced squad, with 316 sevens tournaments between them, including Humphrey Kayange, who will make his 60th Sevens World Series appearance and is two tries away from 150.

The Kenyan side will go up against Australia, Canada and Portugal in Pool D.

Pool C features France, England, the United States and Samoa.

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