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Rio will be a family affair for Sonny Bill Williams as New Zealand announce sevens squads

Liam Messam is the big name missing.

SONNY BILL WILLIAMS has been included in New Zealand’s squad for the rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics, but fellow All Black Liam Messam misses out.

Messam, who has 43 Test caps, was left out of the 12-man panel for the Games, but Williams will be heading to Brazil – and so is his sister.

Niall Williams is part of the All Blacks’ women’s squad as rugby returns to the Olympics for the first time in 92 years.

Scott Curry captains the men’s team and Sonny Bill Williams, a veteran of 33 All Blacks Tests, was also included by coach Gordon Tietjens.

The 30-year-old will now look to add Olympic gold to two World Cup winner’s medals and his Super Rugby titles.

“To go to the Olympic Games which is the best sporting event in the world will be quite special,” Tietjens said.

“It’s going to be a challenging environment for all of us and all the teams as it’s such a new experience.

HSBC London Sevens - Day One - Twickenham Stadium Source: David Davies

“Every player has been selected because they’ve performed well during the Sevens Series and in the training camps since then so have earned their position.

“Sevens is very competitive, so it’s important that we perform and if we perform to our potential, we’ll have a really good chance of succeeding in Rio.”

Messam’s exclusion was the biggest talking point after the 32-year-old had parked his 15s career to help New Zealand qualify for Rio.

He is now being linked with a return to the Chiefs after missing out.

New Zealand men are in Pool C alongside Great Britain, Kenya and Japan while the women face France, Kenya and Spain in Pool B of their tournament.

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Ryan Bailey

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