Lam benches Williams

All Blacks lock Ali Williams has been relegated to the bench for the Blues’ clash with the Sharks.

Williams is replaced by Liaki Moli in the starting second row. Coach Pat Lam said the move will be beneficial for the team as a whole.

‘Ali has started every game and he’s working himself into some good rugby but we need some fresh legs and I think Ali coming off the bench will give us that leadership at a crucial time in the match,’ Lam said.

‘In Filo Paulo and Liaki, you’ve got two young guys who have been pushing hard at training and when they’ve been given the opportunity, particularly last week, they brought a lot of energy. We’re going to need that and Ali will bring that off the bench.’

Flanker Luke Braid returns from suspension and will partner his older brother Daniel, who didn’t start last week because of a stomach bug. Chris Lowrey shifts to No 8 to fill in for the injured Brad Mika.

Blues - 15 Rudi Wulf, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 George Moala.