Super Rugby 2019: Ma'a Nonu makes way for Sonny Bill Williams in Blues midfield

Ma'a Nonu has made way for Sonny Bill Williams, as the Blues look to jump-start their 2019 Super Rugby campaign in South Africa.

The former NRL star came off the bench during his side's 24-22 loss to the Crusaders in the opening round.

Nonu was a mixed bag against the two-time defending champions, showing his trademark bruising defence, but he was awkward on attack and was guilty of defensive misreads.

The former All Black will skip the game against the Sharks in Durban, with TJ Faiane shifting to his preferred centre position, after wearing the number.12 jersey last weekend.

The Sunday morning clash will mark Williams' first Super Rugby start in 10 months, after an injury-ravaged 2018 campaign.

Williams will be joined by fellow All Blacks Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Karl Tu'inukuafe in the run-on side, after both made impressive appearances off the bench against the Crusaders.

Super Rugby 2019: Ma'a Nonu makes way for Sonny Bill Williams in Blues midfield

Coach Leon MacDonald and his selectors have also switched things up in the three-quarters, with Melani Nani replacing Michael Collins at fullback and Caleb Clark starting on the right wing.

Both Nanai and number eight Akira Ioane will play their 50th Super Rugby games for the Blues.

MacDonald warned his side they needed improvement against the Sharks. The South African side are a dangerous, open-running team, with several players remaining from the side that walloped the Blues at Eden Park last year.

Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-James Parsons, 3-Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Jonathan Ruru, 10-Otere Black, 11-Rieko Ioane, 12-Sonny Bill Williams, 13-TJ Faiane, 14-Caleb Clarke, 15-Melani Nanai

Reserves: 16-Matt Moulds, 17-Alex Hodgman, 18-Sione Mafileo, 19-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20-Matt Matich, 21-Augustine Pul, 22, Harry Plummer, 23-Tanielu Tele'a


Contact Newshub with your story tips: