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Nanai-Williams chose Chiefs over Blues

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

Samoan international Tim Nanai Williams has revealed he was close to signing with the Blues before deciding to return for another season with the Chiefs.

The 27-year-old, who has just finished a two-year stint in Japan with the Ricoh Rams, seriously considered a move up north to link up with his former Counties coach Tana Umaga and cousin Sonny Bill Williams.

"It was pretty close really but at the end of the day my loyalties are here and my family was already based down here so the decision became easy for me to come back to Hamilton," Nanai-Williams said.

The utility back has already clocked up 77 caps for the franchise and says the chance of playing 100 games for the Chiefs is a major goal.

Williams admits adjusting to the Super Rugby environment has been tough after a year away, having played in both of the Chiefs' pre-season games and the Brisbane Tens winning side.

"I think the body was just getting used to the grind of training from 8 till 5 and getting back into the footie as I was sore for days.

"In Japan those guys are fit and the games are really quick so it's just the physicality coming back here. I had to run into some props at training just to get used to being smacked around."

The departures of Seta Tamanivalu (Crusaders), Andrew Horrell (Japan), Sonny Bill Williams (Blues) and the concussion to Charlie Ngatai have left a major gap in the Chiefs midfield that Williams could be asked to fill but he believes he's up to the challenge.

"I'll just play my part anywhere whether in the centres or out wide as I just want to help the boys."

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