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Rugby

SBW returns at last for Blues

June 13, 2019 4:36 pm

Sonny Bill Williams will make his long-awaited return from knee surgery in the Blues’ final Super Rugby match of the year, with only pride to play for against the Hurricanes on Saturday night in the capital.

For Williams, though, the stakes are a little bit higher as the 33-year-old, who has missed almost the entire back half of the season after requiring surgery to his knee, seeks to prove his fitness ahead of the international campaign, and a tilt at a third straight World Cup with the All Blacks.

Williams’ return relegates fellow dual World Cup-winning veteran Ma’a Nonu to the bench, though Blues coach Leon MacDonald emphasised after Thursday’s training that he expects both experienced midfielders to play key roles in the match which does not have a lot riding on it from a competition point of view.

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The Blues, with nine defeats this season and 29 competition points, cannot squeeze into the playoffs. The Hurricanes, with just three defeats and 49 points, cannot be headed for that fourth home playoff spot and second highest haul overall in the competition.

Williams said after their Thursday hitout that he would have liked to have made what may well be his final appearance in Super Rugby, and for the Blues, alongside Nonu who has made an incredible return to the New Zealand game at the ripe old age of 37.

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