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Blues let Sonny Bill Williams skip match to be with people of Christchurch after terror attacks

Sonny Bill Williams has been rested for this weekend's Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Highlanders at Eden Park on Friday.

The 33-year-old has been given the green light to travel to Christchurch to aid the region and the people affected by the terror attacks last week.

Blues assistant coach Tom Coventry said it was a straight forward decision to let Williams go and support the victims' families and the people of Christchurch.

"I think it is admirable really, his faith is strong, he really felt for the people of Christchurch," said Coventry.

"Obviously, he had a lot to do with the Crusaders over his long career. He spent a couple of years down there.

"We admire what he is standing for, the fact he would like to go down there, grieve and be part of the support for the region and the people of New Zealand."

Williams has been a devout Muslim for the last several years and has teamed up with Muslims Around The World Project [MATW] to raise money for the families of the victims.

"He has our best wishes. It is a sign of Sonny having a real caring side," Coventry said. "Rugby is important to everyone but at the end of the day it is just a game.

"And people and the region and our country probably come first when dealing with these types of issues."

Williams has been replaced by All Blacks legend Ma’a Nonu at second five-eighth. Nonu will partner up with TJ Faiane in the midfield.

Blues team: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodue, 4 Gerard Crowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Augustine Pule, 22 Otere Black, 23 Levi Aumua/Matt Duffie.

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    Blues assistant Tom Coventry said it was an easy decision to rest Williams for this weekend's match against the Highlanders. Source: 1 NEWS


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