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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Blues name eight All Blacks in team to face the Lions in Auckland

Sonny Bill Williams has been pencilled into the XV for Wednesday’s game.

Murray Kinsella reports from Auckland

TANA UMAGA HAS named eight All Blacks in his Blues squad to face the Lions at Eden Park in Auckland on Wednesday [KO 8.35am Irish time, Sky Sports].

Blockbusting centre Sonny Bill Williams has been named in the Blues’ 12 shirt, although he has been bracketed with TJ Faiane and must come through training tomorrow to prove that he has fully recovered from a knee injury.

Sonny Bill Williams Sonny Bill Williams is set to start against the Lions. Source: Photosport/Anthony Au-Yeung/INPHO

All Blacks-capped tighthead Charlie Faumuina, centre George Moala, hooker James Parsons, loosehead Ofa Tu’ungafasi, number eight Steven Luatua and wing Rieko Ioane all start for the Blues, while lock Patrick Tuipulotu is on the bench.

Umaga has sprung something of a surprise by selecting 20-year-old Stephen Perofeta, who has yet to make his first Super Rugby start, at out-half for the exciting clash against the Lions.

All Blacks blindside Jerome Kaino is missing as he recovers from a knee injury, but there are excellent players throughout the Blues’ matchday 23, including agile wing Matt Duffie and dynamic back rows Blake Gibson and Akira Ioane, the older brother of Rieko.

The hope and likelihood is that Williams will be fit to play as he bids for a place in the All Blacks’ midfield against the Lions, with Umaga confirming that a final call will be made on Tuesday.

We just like to be prepared and keep everyone on their toes,” said Umaga on Monday afternoon at Alexandra Park. “Sonny has come through training today and that’s positive, but we won’t name that until probably tomorrow.

“We’ll see how he comes through training and cools down, they’re not young legs as they used to be so we just need to wait until he gets cold.”

Blues (v Lions): 

15. Michael Collins
14. Matt Duffie
13. George Moala
12. Sonny Bill Williams/TJ Faiane
11. Rieko Ioane
10. Stephen Perofeta
9. Agustine Pulu

1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
2. James Parsons (captain)
3. Charlie Faumuina
4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti
5. Scott Scrafton
6. Akira Ioane
7. Blake Gibson
8. Steven Luatua

Replacements:

16. Hame Faiva
17. Alex Hodgman
18. Sione Mafileo
19. Patrick Tuipulotu
20. Kara Pryor
21. Sam Nock
22. Ihaia West
23. TJ Faiane/Melani Nanai

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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