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SBW back for Blues in Stormers tussle

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/05/2017

Sonny Bill Williams has shaken off a concussion to be named in the Blues' run-on side for their clash against the Stormers in Cape Town. © Mark Nolan/Getty Images Sonny Bill Williams has shaken off a concussion to be named in the Blues' run-on side for their clash against the Stormers in Cape Town. Sonny Bill Williams has shaken off a concussion to be named in the Blues' run-on side for their clash against the Stormers in Cape Town.

The star midfielder skipped last week's win over the Cheetahs in Auckland, having suffered a head knock the week before against the Waratahs.

It's a timely return for the 33-Test All Black, who has played just four games since his comeback from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

He'll form a midfield partnership with George Moala on Saturday (NZT) as he seeks to push his way back into the Test fold.

Elsewhere, fellow All Black Ofa Tu'ungafasi comes in from the first minute for injured loosehead Pauliasi Manu, who has strained a calf muscle.

James Parsons and Charlie Faumuina take up their customary positions at hooker and tighthead, while Gerard Cowley-Tuioti slots in for the benched Patrick Tuipulotu in the Blues' second row.

First-five Piers Francis, meanwhile, has been named to start at Newlands despite suffering a knee knock last weekend.

Ihaia West's ankle issues see him skip the match on South African soil, along with the likes of Jerome Kaino and Jimmy Tupou.

"We've played well for the last month and need to continue to improve every game, as we look to produce an 80-minute performance," coach Tana Umaga said.

BLUES: Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons (c), Ofa Tu'ungafasi. RESERVES: Hame Faiva, Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Sam Nock, Bryn Gatland, Michael Collins.

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