Super Rugby 2019: Sonny Bill Williams returns for Blues against Hurricanes

  • 13/06/2019

Star midfielder Sonny Bill Williams will make his long-awaited return from injury, when the Blues take on the Hurricanes in their final game of the Super Rugby season on Saturday.

Williams hasn't featured for the Blues since injuring his knee in their week seven clash with the Stormers and he's rearing for a chance to contribute, albeit in a dead rubber contest.

"The body's good," Said Williams at Thursday's training. "It's been a long process with this injury, but I put all my faith in Allah and the time is right now.

"I'm good enough to get out there against the Hurricanes and I'm just excited to have another crack with the boys."

With little at stake in Wellington, much interest will centre on the form of cross-code star Williams, whose All Blacks selection is in doubt, after sitting out the last 10 games.

The 33-year-old former NRL star, who has long been favoured by New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, will make just his third start of the year, as he tries to stave off a host of quality midfield candidates to win selection for a third Rugby World Cup

Wing sensation Rieko Ioane rejoins the run-on side, after completing his final week of All Blacks rest, as will lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

Prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi will take his last round of All Blacks-allocated rest, meaning Marcel Renata will make his first start of the season against his former franchise.

Meanwhile, Williams' former All Blacks midfield partner Ma'a Nonu will start from the bench in what could be his Super Rugby swansong at Westpac Stadium, where he played most of his career with the Hurricanes.

An injury to regular TJ Faiane makes way for Tanielu Tele'a to start alongside Williams, while Augustine Pulu forms a halves pairing with Otere Black.

Wing Caleb Clarke is back from injury to play on the right wing next to fullback Melani Nanai, who plays his final Blues game, before heading to the UK to join the Worcester Warriors.

Despite missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season, Blues coach Leon MacDonald stressed the importance of finishing their campaign on a high note.

"We owe it to ourselves, after a season of such hard work and dedication, to enjoy the opportunity to execute like I know we can," he said.

Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-James Parsons, 3- Marcel Renata, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Scott Scrafton, 6- Dalton Papali'i, 7-Blake Gibson (c), 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Augustine Pulu, 10-Otere Black, 11-Rieko Ioane, 12-Sonny Bill Williams, 13-Tanielu Tele'a, 14-Caleb Clarke, 15-Melani Nanai

Reserves: 16-Leni Apisai, 17-Hisa Sasagi, 18-Lua Li, 19-Tom Robinson, 20-Josh Goodhue, 21-Jonathan Ruru, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Ma'a Nonu

Newshub.

Join us for live updates of Hurricanes v Blues from 7:30pm Saturday.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz