Sonny Bill Williams gets another chance to impress the All Blacks selectors and help his Blues team to an unlikely playoffs place after he was named to start against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

Williams missed last weekend's victory over the Cheetahs after suffering concussion the previous week against the Waratahs, but has been cleared to play at Newlands.

He is likely to be relishing the opportunity. Williams has a big following in South Africa, and particularly in Cape Town, and with Crusader Ryan Crotty mounting a big challenge for the All Blacks' No12 jersey for the first test against the British and Irish Lions next month, Williams needs game time after a late start to the season following Achilles surgery.

The Blues need to win all four of their remaining round-robin matches in order to have a chance of making the finals series, but their fate rests with the Highlanders, who are five points above them on the table.


Ofa Tu'ungafasi gets his second start of the season after his standout performance when replacing the injured Pauliasi Manu at Eden Park.

The only other change from the starting Blues' line-up that beat the Cheetahs 50-32 sees Gerard Cowley-Tuioti return to partner fellow in-form lock Scott Scrafton with All Black Patrick Tuipulotu, who impressed in his return from a back injury last weekend, named on the reserves bench.

Piers Francis has recovered from a knee injury to start at first-five, with Bryn Gatland returning to the squad in the reserves after Ihaia West failed to make the flight with a recurrence of his ankle problem.

Coach Tana Umaga said: "We knew this back end of the season was full of challenges with our travel schedule. We have planned for it and we do have a number of players coming back from injury for us, and some hopefully ready to be considered back in New Zealand next week.

"The Stormers at Newlands are a formidable challenge for us. We've played well for the last month and need to continue to improve every game as we look to produce an 80-minute performance."

Blues team to play the Stormers at Newlands at 5am on Saturday:

Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons (c), Ofa Tu'ungafasi. Reserves: Hame Faiva, Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Sam Nock, Bryn Gatland, Michael Collins.