Sonny Bill Williams returns for Hong Kong sevens

Sonny Bill Williams has been named in the All Blacks Sevens squad for the next two legs of the Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Pita Ahki also returns to the side after last playing for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. He was also a member of the 2013 World Cup sevens winning side.

Coach Gordon Tietjens said it was a tough selection after yesterday's trial.

"The key this year is getting the balance right so we give all the players the opportunity in a really important year to stake their claim to be in contention for the Olympics by playing in a World Series tournament. We want to go to Hong Kong and perform really well."

Wider training group player Sione Molia wins selection after impressing in Vancouver while Ahki returns to the side from the Hurricanes.

"We've lost Joe Webber and Ben Lam to injury so Pita gives us that experience.

Defensively he's very strong and has a very good understanding of the game which is hugely important."

Isaac Te Tamaki join Williams in returning from injury which ruled them out of the recent tournaments in Las Vegas and Vancouver, while Liam Messam continues his return to sevens.

"Isaac is probably our fastest player. He has that x factor and can break out and do things out of nothing so he's a real threat," said Tietjens.

"Sonny Bill and Liam are back in the reckoning. Liam had a very good final in Vancouver and will want to back that up in Hong Kong. Sonny is coming off the back of two very good tournaments in Sydney and Wellington and wants to get back into it. He's been training well and will be looking forward to Hong Kong.

"Sonny and Liam love the sevens culture and are both very hard workers. They mix in really well and want to stake their claims to be in the team to go to Rio."

The All Blacks Sevens are currently third in the series after winning the recent Canada Sevens in Vancouver, two points behind leader Fiji.

The playing team of 12 for Hong Kong will be named next week.

Sevens squad
Pita Ahki (North Harbour)
Kurt Baker (Taranaki)
Dylan Collier (Waikato)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau) 
Gillies Kaka (Hawke's Bay)
Liam Messam (Waikato)
Tim Mikkelson (Captain) (Waikato)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)
Lewis Ormond (Taranaki)
Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty)
Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato)
Regan Ware (Waikato)
Sonny Bill Williams (Counties Manukau)