SBW partners Kahui in midfield

Sonny Bill Williams will play his first game for the Chiefs when they tackle the Hurricanes in a warm-up match on Friday.

Williams had been granted leave to concentrate on his boxing, and beat Clarence Tillman for the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association heavyweight title last week. He’s since returned to the rugby field and has been rushed straight into the starting line-up by coach Dave Rennie. He will play his first game for his new franchise alongside All Blacks team-mate Richard Kahui.

All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden will also form an important partnership with Williams on the 10-12 axis.

Chiefs – 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Tim Nanai Williams, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Sam Cane, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Marcel Cummings-Toone, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Shane Cleaver, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Scott Waldrom, 21 Ronald Raaymakers, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 24 Declan ODonnell, 25 Jackson Willison, 26 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.