Sonny Bill set for 50th Test in Tokyo

Sonny Bill Williams (Getty)
Sonny Bill Williams (Getty)

Tokyo - All Blacksinside centre Sonny Bill Williams will play in his 50th Test when they face Australia in Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup clash in Yokohama.

Williams, who made his debut against England at Twickenham in November 2010, starts in a matchday squad which also features the return of several key players from injury. Joe Moody returns from his thumb injury and back into the number one jersey, while fellow prop Nepo Laulala is also back, named in the run on reserves.

Liam Squire returns to the number six jersey while Brodie Retallick will make his return via the bench.

In other changes from the last Test side, TJ Perenara will start at scrumhalf with Aaron Smith providing impact from the bench.

Ben Smith moves to the right wing to make way for Damian McKenzie at fullback. Matt Todd provides loose forward cover from the bench.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen is looking forward to the Test and welcomed the return of several star players.

“It’s great to have Joe, Nepo, Liam and Brodie, as well as Matt Todd, back. As well as being world-class rugby players, they also add a lot of experience to the team, both on and off the track. We look forward to seeing them play again.

“The Test match will provide us with another great opportunity to put into practise what we have learnt throughout our recent Tests in the Rugby Championship, and grow our game in the first Test of what will be an exciting northern tour.

“We’re also excited to be playing the first of our two Tests here in Japan. The Japanese people have been fantastic hosts and the team has enjoyed the cultural aspects of our time here.

“We look forward to seeing them on Saturday and hopefully having their support.”

Kick-off is at 08:00 SA time.


New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown


15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes (one to be omitted): 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Sekope Kepu,18  Taniela Tupou, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi, 24 Tom Banks

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
42% - 7671 votes
11% - 1942 votes
19% - 3512 votes
3% - 459 votes
1% - 168 votes
2% - 437 votes
5% - 899 votes
8% - 1520 votes
3% - 603 votes
Water sports
1% - 166 votes
American sports
1% - 213 votes
3% - 562 votes