Rugby Championship: All Blacks leave Nehe Milner-Skudder and Sonny Bill Williams at home for Bledisloe opener

Nehe Milner-Skudder will skip the bright lights of Sydney for Palmerston North after missing the All Blacks trip to Australia.

Coach Steve Hansen said they are restricted in the amount of players they can send for their opening Rugby Championship stoush with the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

Milner-Skudder will instead turn out for Manawatu in their opening Mitre 10 Cup fixture against Waikato hours, before kick-off in Sydney.

Injured second-five eight Sonny Bill Williams has also missed the trip, but hooker Dane Coles will travel as the medical staff look to get the injured rake back to full fitness.

"We are only allowed to take 32 out of the 33 man squad to Australia, so we have Nehe [Milner-Skudder] going back to Manawatu and Sonny [Bill Williams] has gone home as well," Hansen said before departure.

"We wanted to take Colsey [Dane Coles] because we want to put some training into him from an intensity point of view."

Rebels star utility Reece Hodge has moved a step closer to claiming the Australian No. 13 jersey, with Curtis Rona omitted from their reduced squad.

Forward duo Scott Sio and Michael Hooper, and outside back Dane Haylett-Petty have been included despite injury concerns.