Lions tour: Sonny Bill Williams suspended for 4 weeks after Anthony Watson shoulder charge

Sonny Bill Williams has been suspended for four weeks after a shoulder charge on British and Irish Lions winger Anthony Watson.

Williams was sent off in the 25th minute for the incident in Saturday night's Test against the Lions, becoming the first Kiwi player in 50 years to receive a red card.

With Ryan Crotty already ruled out with a hamstring injury, the All Blacks have called in Malakai Fekitoa as cover for the squad. 

Malakai Fekitoa against the British and Irish Lions in Dunedin.
Malakai Fekitoa against the British and Irish Lions in Dunedin. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The 25-year-old was one of the more unlucky players to miss out on selection for the series.

He's played in 23 Tests for the All Blacks and is rumoured to be leaving to join French side Toulon when his contract with New Zealand Rugby expires.

Coach Steve Hansen defended Williams earlier on Sunday, saying it's a part of the game. 

Sonny Bill Williams with the shoulder charge which saw him get a red card.
Sonny Bill Williams with the shoulder charge which saw him get a red card. Photo credit: Getty Images

"He's disappointed - not for himself, he accepts that he made a mistake. He's disappointed that he let the team down," Hansen said.

"One of our biggest mantras is 'team first' and he knows he let the team down, but we can't go back and change it either.

"People make mistakes. It's a fluid game, it's a fast game, it's a physical game and unfortunately he made a mistake and we've got to move on from it."

His words were echoed by Williams after the ruling was announced on Sunday night, and he said he was "really disappointed".

"I've gotten into contact with Andy and will apologise to him, but I'm very disappointed that I was sent from the field last night and let my brothers down."

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