Super 14
Williams suffers fresh injury blow
January 29, 2010
Blues lock Ali Williams hobbles off with an injury, Blues v Chiefs, Super 14 Pre-season match, North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, January 29, 2010
Williams hobbles off the field after suffering the injuey in his side's pre-season clash with the Chiefs © Getty Images

Ali Williams' season could be over before it has begun after the Blues lock suffered a fresh injury blow in his side's pre-season clash with the Chiefs.

The All Blacks second row lasted just four minutes of the Super 14 pre-season clash at the North Harbour Stadium after rupturing the achilles tendon which required an operation last July and sidelined him for the majority of 2009. "I knew what it was as soon as it happened. As you'd expect I'm absolutely gutted," admitted Williams.

A Blues spokesman said the injury was just below where last year's problem surfaced. He said the extent of the damage was hard to say but admitted a worst case scenario could see the 28-year-old Blues forward ruled out for all of 2010.

After falling awkwardly, apparently when simply running to a breakdown, Williams was helped from the field by two Blues medical staff while struggling to put weight on his lower right leg. The game was less than four minutes old and will be an enormous wrench for Williams, who had trained well with the Blues for the past six weeks, had undergone a careful recovery from the injury, as well as a shoulder operation. He recently spent time in California as part of his recuperation.

Blues doctor Stephen Kara confirmed, "This was Williams' first game back since undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon last year and this rupture occurred just below the area that was previously operated on. Ali will undergo surgery early next week. He will not play for the Blues again this season and will be unable to play rugby for at least six months."

If Williams is ruled out of international picture for another year, it will be an enormous blow to the All Blacks and their coach Graham Henry, who struggled to replace the athletic Aucklander last year. Isaac Ross was employed with mixed success through the June tests and Tri-Nations while provincial journeyman Tom Donnelly was an effective performer on the season-ending tour.

Williams' last Test was in 2008, a season when he started all 15 Tests. His injury follows news that long-time locking partner Chris Jack will be sidelined for a month with a wrist injury. Jack rejoined the Crusaders this year after two years overseas.

Meanwhile, the Blues recovered from the jolt of losing Williams to beat the Chiefs 31-21, scoring five tries to three. Two of them went to fullback Paul Williams while outside backs Rudi Wulf and George Pisi and prop Charlie Faumuina were the others to cross. The Chiefs, who trailed 10-7 at halftime in scorching conditions, crossed through fullback Tim Nanai-Williams, flanker Jack Lam and hooker Aled de Malmanche.

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