Sonny Bill Williams returns for Chiefs

Date published: February 12 2015

Sonny Bill Williams will play his first Super Rugby game since 2012 for the Chiefs against the Blues at QBE Stadium in North Harbour on Saturday.

Playing the game at QBE Stadium has caused the Chiefs coaches selection challenges.

“There has been some difficult decisions with a lot of competition for places. We’re rapt with the side we have picked but realise it will be a big challenge at North Harbour,” said head coach Dave Rennie.

In the front row Hika Elliot makes his return to Super Rugby and is joined by props Pauliasi Manu and Ben Tameifuna. 

Pre-season captain Matt Symons will continue to lead the side from lock and will be joined by Michael Fitzgerald who is in his fourth season with the Chiefs. 

There are two debutants In the loose forwards in Johan Bardoul and number eight Maama Vaipulu playing alongside All Black Sam Cane, who will rack up his 51st game for the Chiefs.

Half-back Brad Weber will start the match at scrum-half and is joined by New Zealand U20s player Damian Mckenzie at fly-half. In the midfield, Maori All Blacks captain Charlie Ngatai will join Sonny Bill Williams with James Lowe, Tim Nanai-Williams and Tom Marshall making up the back three.

The reserves feature four players who are expected to make their Chiefs debuts. Prop Siate Tokolahi, lock Michael Allardice, fly-half Marty Mckenzie and winger Bryce Heem all have the potential to take the field for their first Chiefs cap.

Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Johan Bardoul, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Bryce Heem

Date: Saturday, February 14
Venue: QBE Stadium, Albany
Kickoff: 19:35 local (06:35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant Referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Kane McBride
TMO: Ben Skeen