Sonny Bill still waiting in the wings
August 19, 2010
Canterbury's Sonny Bill Williams watches training, Canterbury training session, Rugby Park, Christchurch, New Zealand, July 9, 2010
© Getty Images

Time is starting to run out for Sonny Bill Williams to prove his All Blacks credentials after injury ruled him out of Canterbury's latest ITM Cup clash.

Former rugby league star Williams' name was missing from the side named to play Tasman in Nelson on Saturday, once again due to a tight hamstring.

Apart from 50 minutes with club side Belfast two weeks ago, Williams hasn't played since arriving in New Zealand last month. He was recovering from minor knee surgery when he moved from Australia and then suffered the hamstring strain while playing for Belfast.

Williams, 24, gave up a lucrative contract with French club Toulon to chase a goal of playing for the All Blacks but his odds of being selected for the season-ending tour will reduce with every game that he misses. The tour begins with a test against Australia in Hong Kong on October 30.

He didn't train with the team this week, instead focusing on his own recuperation, while Stephen Brett and Robbie Fruean hold onto their midfield berths for Saturday's match against Canterbury's franchise partners.

There are three changes to the team, with Andrew Olorenshaw replacing Peter Borlase at tighthead prop, Steve Fualau returning for Corey Flynn at hooker and Luke Romano in for Sam Whitelock at lock.

Rob Verbakel returns to the reserve bench as lock cover. Both teams are coming off good wins last weekend, with Canterbury downing North Harbour 44-22 while Tasman outplayed Hawke's Bay 21-7.

Team: Sean Maitland, Sam Monaghan, Robbie Fruean, Stephen Brett, Telusa Veainu, Colin Slade, Takerei Norton, Ash Parker, George Whitelock (captain), Matt Todd, Isaac Ross, Luke Romano, Andrew Olorenshaw, Steve Fualau, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Paul Ngauamo, Peter Borlase, Rob Verbakel, Nasi Manu, Andy Ellis, Robbie Flynn, Patrick Osborne


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