Rugby: Mr Versatile slotting into yet another role with his licence to roam

By Kris Shannon

Another week, another new position for Tim Nanai-Williams.

The Chiefs utility has been named at centre for his side's encounter with the Blues tomorrow, continuing a season that has seen him shuffle along the champs' backline.

After a consistent run at wing, Nanai-Williams last week played fullback and has now been plugged into midfield to fill the hole left by the injured Charlie Ngatai.

The 24-year-old could be forgiven for double-checking the number on his jersey before he runs out every week but, with no favoured position, Nanai-Williams relishes the varying challenges found all over the field.

"I'm just happy wherever I can play a part for the team - and I'm not just saying that," he said. "I enjoy the challenge when I don't know where I'm going to play till two days out from the game.

"I have to adjust from where I usually play on the wing, to playing centre, to playing fullback.

But I enjoy every minute and where I play doesn't bother me."

Part of that enjoyment stems from a freedom bestowed by the Chiefs coaches. While Nanai-Williams will seemingly have more involvement at fullback or centre, his special instructions allow him to exert influence when playing on the wing.

"Our coaches give me a licence to just roam around. I'm another fullback, another centre, even though I'm playing wing. I can just roam around and play first receiver, or run back-door plays."

The Counties Manukau man missed the second half of last year with a torn adductor muscle, and he credits a highly-structured pre-season with his durability during the 2014 Super campaign.

"I was lucky enough to make it in time for the first game, and I've just been looking after my body."

The Chiefs are aiming to enter their second bye on a winning note. More crocked teammates should return following the break but Nanai-Williams will undoubtedly find a space for himself somewhere in the side.


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