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Lienert-Brown braced for SBW showdown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017

Chiefs back Lienert-Brown, 22, learned plenty from Williams two years ago when he was still finding his feet in Super Rugby. © Dave Rowland/Getty Images Chiefs back Lienert-Brown, 22, learned plenty from Williams two years ago when he was still finding his feet in Super Rugby. All Blacks second five-eighth Anton Lienert-Brown is relishing switching from team-mate to opposite number when he confronts Sonny Bill Williams in Auckland.

Chiefs back Lienert-Brown, 22, learned plenty from Williams two years ago when he was still finding his feet in Super Rugby.

Williams, 31, has since shifted to the Blues and the two Test midfield backs will lock horns in a key Super Rugby match at Eden Park on Friday.

The pair is both strong contenders to win All Blacks selection for the series against the British and Irish Lions.

They could even be involved in a head-to-head for a starting jersey.

However, Lienert-Brown is putting that issue to one side, keen simply to test himself against a former mentor.

"Sonny's someone I look up to and he's a class player," he said.

"I learnt an immense amount off him not just on the field but off the field as well so I'm looking forward to that challenge this week."

Lienert-Brown had a breakthrough season last year clocking up nine Tests.

He admits it has been a quieter season for him to date, producing a series of solid displays for a Chiefs team who have been beaten just twice.

His personal form hasn't been helped by having to play with five different midfield partners but he's making no excuses.

"I've been building and working hard all season to get better and slowly the confidence is starting to come back.

"It's not about having a partnership necessarily but doing my job well for the team."

Having played every game for the Chiefs to date this season, he has three more chances to prove himself to the All Blacks selectors.

"I guess that's the main focus at the moment, going out there and putting my hand up but I don't want to make it all about myself because it's still about doing my job for the Chiefs," he said.

"We can't afford to lose another game now."

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