Super Rugby 2019: Sonny Bill Williams sidelined for Blues against Waratahs

All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams will miss Saturday's Blues vs Brumbies Super Rugby clash with a knee injury.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald has also rested international prop Karl Tu'inukuafe, as required by player welfare protocols, but retains a settled line-up, as his team seek their fourth straight win.

On the wing, Caleb Clarke replaces Tanielu Tele'a, who was suspended for a dangerous tackle last week, while lock Josh Goodhue returns from shoulder injury to start in the second row.

As expected, All Blacks flyer Rieko Ioane will line up on the other wing, after last month's bye reset his protocol rest counter, and Otere Black retains the contentious first-five spot, outside Jonathan Ruru.

Co-captain Blake Gibson wears the number-seven jersey and continues to keep All Black Dalton Papalii on the bench, while international prop Ofa Tuungafasi will add late-game punch again.

"There's a settled look to this team, but that's not to say there is not competition," says MacDonald. "There's competition for virtually every spot in the starting line-up, which is what we want, and it is helping produce competitive and high-quality trainings.

"If the starters do their job well, then they earn the right to stay there. We have already highlighted that, while we want our starters to set the platform, equally one of our strengths is the energy we get off the bench to help us finish strongly."

Williams' absence gives former All Black Ma'a Nonu another chance to further solidify his midfield claims, after strong performances against the Highlanders and Stormers.  

Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-James Parsons, 3-Sione Mafileo, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu (cc), 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson, 7-Blake Gibson (cc), 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Jonathan Ruru, 10-Otere Black, 11-Rieko Ioane, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 13-TJ Faiane, 14-Caleb Clarke, 15-Melani Nanai

Reserves: 16-Matt Moulds, 17-Marcel Renata, 18-Ofa Tuungafasi, 19-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20-Dalton Papalii, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Michael Collins.


Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Blues vs Waratahs Super Rugby clash.

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