Williams, Perofeta named to face Lions

Blues first five eighth Stephen Perofeta will make his first start for the side when they take on the British and Irish Lions in Auckland on Wednesday.

Perofeta made his Super Rugby debut for the side in Apia last week, coming off the bench in the second half.

Coach Tana Umaga said Perofeta's performance in that game earned him a spot in the squad named to face The Lions.

"It's an opportunity for Stevie to step up, we think that he's ready to do that, he has a lot of experience and support around him.

"His skill set belies his age, he could have been on tour with the under 20s but we kept him behind, we just want to make sure he keeps developing, and he's earned the right to start for us this week," Umaga said.

Sonny Bill Williams was also named in the team, bracketed with TJ Faiane he is expected to grab a place in the starting line-up.

Umaga said Williams who has been out with an injury came through training well today but a final decision on if he will start will be made tomorrow.

Williams said if he steps out on the field against the Lions the match will be one to remember.

"Very excited at the possibility at running out against The Lions, our boys put in a good performance in Apia so the squad which has been named for this week has to show that we are up to it and carry on that good form."

Williams said fasting for Ramadan is not affecting his training.

"Not to much to be honest, we've got good trainers i've worked closely with them, I find the fasting easy - getting through the field based training is fine, i just push back the weights until i break fast.

"If anything it makes more focus, after the first week the body starts to get used to it," Williams said.

During the team naming today coach Tana Umaga was asked numerous times about the first test between the All Blacks and Lions in 2005 when he and Kevin Mealamu tackled Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll hard, resulting in him missing the rest of the tour.

"It's not about that time now that was 12 years ago if people can't put it behind them i guess they never will, it's about this group now and their time against the Lions and the memories they make hopefully positive ones."

Blues: Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams/ TJ Faiane, Stephen Perofeta, Augustine Pulu, Steve Luatua, Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Reserves: Hame Faiva, Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Sam Nock, Ihaia West, TJ Faiane/Melani Nanai