Sonny Bill Williams is set to return to Super Rugby in the coming weeks as he nears a full recovery from the achilles injury he suffered at the Olympics in August last year.

Speaking to Veitchy on Sport, Blues coach Tana Umaga suggested the 33-test All Black could take to the field as early as this weekend, when the Blues face off against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

"It's looking good," Umaga said.

"He has been training with us, and it's how he feels after he trains.


"If he can get many days where he feels good after training, then that's the process we're going through at the moment, where he's pain-free after one training, and then he can get through a whole week of training.

"It's good [for him] to be back, but it's hard to say whether it's this weekend, next weekend or after the bye."

Williams is yet to make his debut appearance for the Blues as a result of the achilles injury he suffered during the All Blacks Sevens' opening pool match at the Olympics against Japan in Rio de Janeiro eight months ago.

The 31-year-old signed a three year deal for the Auckland-based franchise in June last year.

The news of Williams' imminent return to Super Rugby will be warmly welcomed by fans around the country following a worrying weekend of injuries to a handful of key All Blacks.

Sam Cane and Nepo Laulala left the field with concussion in the Chiefs' 28-12 win over the Bulls in Hamilton.

Laulala is out for at least three weeks, missing the Chiefs' trip to South Africa, while Cane is set to travel but has been ruled out of the opening clash of the trip against the Stormers.

The Hurricanes' 34-15 win over the Reds in Brisbane may have come at a cost with Ardie Savea leaving the field with a calf strain.

Assistant coach John Plumtree said they're hopeful it isn't too serious.

"We think he might have a bit of a calf strain," he said.

"He's walking around here. He's a bit uncomfortable but I don't think it's anything major, without having too much detail from the medical staff.

"We were a pretty worried about him, obviously, but it doesn't look like it's anything major."

All Blacks vice-captain Ben Smith was scratched from the Highlanders' starting line up prior to their 51-12 demolition of the Rebels in Dunedin on Friday after having tweaked his hamstring at a team training on Thursday.

The injury isn't believed to be serious however, and a return against the Blues this weekend seems likely.

Cane, Laulala, Savea and Smith add to the growing list of injured All Blacks, with the likes of Brad Weber (broken femur), Charlie Ngatai (concussion), Dane Coles, Israel Dagg, Liam Squire (all knee injuries), Nehe Milner-Skudder (fractured foot), Vaea Fifita (damaged ankle ligaments), Kieran Read (wrist surgery), Seta Tamanivalu, Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo (all hamstring injuries) all sidelined for various time periods.