Sonny Bill starts at 12 for Chiefs against Blues

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has named his Super Rugby team to play the Blues on Saturday in North Harbour with Sonny Bill Williams starting at 12.

Rennie said that the competition for places was strong for places which caused the Chiefs coaches selection challenges.

“There has been some difficult decisions with a lot of competition for places. We’re rapt with the side we have picked but realise it will be a big challenge at North Harbour,” said Head Coach Dave Rennie.

In the front row Hika Elliot makes his return to Super Rugby and is joined by props Pauliasi Manu and Ben Tameifuna.

Pre-season captain Matt Symons will continue to lead the side from lock and will be joined by Michael Fitzgerald who is in his fourth season with the Chiefs.

There are two debutants in the loose forwards in Johan Bardoul and No 8 Maama Vaipulu who will play alongside All Black Sam Cane who will rack up his 51st game for the Chiefs.

Halfback Brad Weber will start the match at halfback and is joined by NZ U20s player Damian Mckenzie who has got the nod at first five-eighth.

In the midfield Maori All Blacks captain Charlie Ngatai will join Sonny Bill Williams with James Lowe, Tim Nanai-Williams and Tom Marshall making up the back three.

The reserves feature four players who are expected to make their Chiefs debut. Prop Siate Tokolahi, lock Michael Allardice, first five-eighth Marty Mckenzie and winger Bryce Heem all have the potential to take the field for their first Chiefs cap.

Chiefs

1. Pauliasi Manu , 2. Hika Elliot , 3. Ben Tameifuna , 4. Matt Symons (c) , 5. Michael Fitzgerald , 6. Johan Bardoul * , 7. Sam Cane , 8. Maama Vaipulu* , 9. Brad Weber , 10. Damian McKenzie* , 11. James Lowe , 12. Sonny Bill Williams , 13. Charlie Ngatai , 14. Tim Nanai-Williams , 15. Tom Marshall

16. Rhys Marshall , 17. Jamie Mackintosh , 18. Siate Tokolahi* , 19. Michael Allardice* , 20. Tevita Koloamatangi , 21. Augustine Pulu , 22. Marty McKenzie* , 23. Bryce Heem*

*Chiefs debutants

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