Nanai-Williams set for 50th cap

Date published: July 2 2013

Tim Nanai-Williams has admitted his surprise at reaching 50 matches so soon for the Chiefs ahead of facing the Crusaders.

Tim Nanai-Williams has admitted his surprise at reaching 50 matches so soon for the Chiefs ahead of facing the Crusaders.

The outside centre was not aware that he was close to reaching the achievement until facing the media earlier this week.

Nanai-Williams made his debut for the Chiefs back in 2010 against the Sharks, going on to be part of the side that lifted the Super Rugby title in 2012.

Now despite still being in his early 20s, Nanai-Williams admitted that he felt like one of the elder statesman at the club and was delighted to have hit the target with the Chiefs.

“I didn't really expect to see a 50th so early, so I guess it's a great achievement if I do get on the field this week,” said Nanai-Williams to Fairfax NZ News.

“It was a bit of a shock for me because I hadn't really kept count on my games.”

“I actually feel like one of the old guys now, getting the 50, but I'm just buzzing about the fact that I'm getting that 50th in one club to be honest.”

With the New Zealand conference leaders facing off against the seven-time champion Crusaders this weekend, Nanai-Williams stated that the challenge of facing New Zealand's most successful side would be as great as ever.

“It's going to be a tough battle again. The last time we played them we just edged them and it's going to be the same this week as well so we've got to make sure we get our preparation right and just make sure we put that on the park,” added Nanai-Williams.

“You have to make sure you do everything task by task against the Crusaders. You can't really take a big step; you've got to take the little steps first before you can start implementing the big stuff.

Despite a disrupted season through injury, Nanai-Williams now feels back to full fitness and was excited by the bond developing in midfield.

“It's been quite frustrating, I bet, for the coaches and for myself too. I always just want to play every game and make sure I'm playing consistently and we're starting to get that bond now and that consistency through our front three of Cruds [Aaron Cruden] and Bundee Aki,” stated Nanai-Williams.

“It's good we've had no more injuries and now the coaches can actually get some depth in our team now.

“At the beginning of the year we started chopping and changing with different second-fives with Andrew Horrell and Charlie Ngatai and it was difficult for me because they all play differently and I had to adjust my game.

“But having Bundee and Aaron there week in, week out makes it a lot easier for me, because I know how they play.”