(Reuters) - All Blacks center Sonny Bill Williams is used to being in the spotlight but on Sunday it was his sister Niall’s turn to revel in the acclaim after she was named in the New Zealand women’s rugby sevens squad for the 2016 Rio Games.
Sonny Bill, who is also headed to Rio with the men’s squad, said news of his sister’s inclusion was greeted with the loudest cheer in the Williams’ home.
“I was happy when I got the phone call, but the biggest cheer we got in my household was when my sister made it,” he told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
The siblings will become one of the few brother-sister duos to represent their country at the Olympics, as rugby union returns to the Games for the first time in 92 years, albeit in the sport’s shorter format.
Far from being put out, Sonny Bill said the 28-year-old Niall, a mother of two, was a source of inspiration for him.
“It’s awesome, just seeing where she’s come from, when she first started her journey she wasn’t contracted,” he said.
”She had to get up in the early hours of the morning to do her training and then look after her girls and then train again at night.
“I‘m proud of her, but at the same time there are a lot of media here and a lot of spotlight on myself and my sister, but for us it’s not about us two,” he added.
“It’s about this journey and this team we’re in. We really want to go over there and compete well.”
New Zealand’s men are grouped with Britain, Kenya and Japan in Pool C, while the women’s team face France, Kenya and Spain in Group B for the Aug. 6-11 tournament.
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford