Blues to unleash SBW on Lions

Sonny Bill Williams will start for the Blues against the British & Irish Lions in Auckland on Wednesday.

Blues coach Tana Umaga has named his strongest available lineup, consisting of eight All Blacks, including backs Williams, George Moala, Rieko Ioane and Augustine Pulu.

Hooker James Parsons will captain the team, while the Blues will have to make do without flank Jerome Kaino and prop Pauliasi Manu.

'Our focus all season has been on Super Rugby – it has had to be. So while the lead-up is short, there’s no doubt that this game is going to be a really special day for our players and our club to play against the British & Irish Lions,' Umaga said.

'It is something that I experienced as a player and has remained with me. There’s no doubt it will be a challenging turnaround for us. In the last 30 days we have played four Super games in New Zealand, South Africa and Samoa and now the British & Irish Lions.

'We are fortunate to have some senior players back from injury which will be a help.

'The reality is that it will not take much to motivate for this game. It is a special occasion and I hope the guys do themselves, their families and their club proud.'

Blues – 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Subs: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane.

Lions team to play Blues

Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams