Williams set for Blues comeback
April 20, 2011
Ali Williams is set to return for the Blues © Getty Images
Former All Black Ali Williams will make his return for the Blues in Friday's Super Rugby clash with the Rebels in Auckland.
The second-rower has been out for more than a month after suffering a hamstring problem in a 22-22 draw against the Western Force, a knock that derailed his comeback following two serious Achilles injuries, and replaces Kurtis Haiu, who has a concussion.
Also back in the starting side are prop Tony Woodcock, after a calf problem, and centre Benson Stanley, who has been confined to the bench in recent weeks after earlier losing his starting spot because of injury.
Stanley replaces in-form second five-eighth Luke McAlister, although coach Pat Lam confirmed that the switch was to give McAlister a breather, given his recent workload.
"It's very good when you have a six-day turnaround to bring on fresh legs like Benson," Lam said. "Luke will get a chance to play at either 10 or 12 when he comes on."
Lam said that Williams was in good shape both physically and mentally. "Mentally, he's in a great space and he's had all the tests to give the medical staff confidence that he's ready and available for us," he said.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders have switched their clash against the Blues on June 11 to Timaru, the site of their big win over the Bulls earlier this month.
"Our previous game there this season against the Bulls was an outstanding success," Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said. "Timaru really turned it on for us and we're looking forward to going back there."
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