100-up for Williams in Durban
Cape Town - Blues lock Ali Williams will make his 100th appearance for the Blues when they tackle the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.
The skipper is set to join an illustrious group of players featuring Keven Mealamu, John Afoa and Tony Woodcock who have played 100 games for the Blues.
Coach John Kirwan praised Williams fro his contribution to the franchise over the last decade.
“It’s great for someone like him, he’s such a proud Blues man. He’s been one of the key guys driving the importance of the game this week for us as a franchise and I think it’s an added bonus that Ali gets to play his 100th game for the Blues and he joins a very special club," Kirwan told the Rugby15 website
Meanwhile, All Blacks Keven Mealamu and Rene Ranger will make their appearances from the bench having arrived late in Durban.
Kirwan said the disruption caused by late arrivals of key players had been mitigated by the enthusiasm the new All Blacks had injected into the camp.
"It was really important that these guys (Mealamu and Ranger) got home after they'd been with the All Blacks so today (Wednesday) will be our first training run together since the players left," Kirwan said.
"It's probably not the most ideal preparation but we've planned for it and we understood how it was going to be. The boys are really excited and refreshed so that has compensated for it."
Lock Culum Retallick is suffering from illness and has been bracketed on the bench with Kane Barrett.
The clash at Kings Park kicks off at 14:50 on Saturday.Teams:Sharks:
15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Butch James, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Daniel Mienie / Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Jandre Marais, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Jacques Botes, 21. Cobus Reinach, 22. Jaco van TonderBlues:
15. Charles Piutau, 14. Frank Halai, 13. Jackson Willison, 12. Francis Saili, 11. George Moala, 10. Chris Noakes, 9. Piri Weepu, 8. Peter Saili, 7. Luke Braid, 6. Steven Luatua, 5. Ali Williams (captain), 4. Anthony Boric, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 2. James Parsons, 1. Tim Perry
Substitutes: 16. Keven Mealamu, 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18. Kane Barrett / Culum Retallick, 19. Brendon O’Connor, 20. Jamison Gibson-Park, 21.Baden Kerr, 22. Rene Ranger