Williams, who converted to Islam a decade ago, has spent the past two weeks in Christchurch fund-raising and consoling members of the city’s Islamic community after the March 15 shooting at two mosques which left 50 dead.
He attended the national memorial service in Christchurch on Friday then, after missing last weekend’s match against the Highlanders, returned to the team for Saturday’s clash with the South Africans.
Williams took the field in the second half as a replacement at centre for Ma’a Nonu and made an immediate impact on a tight match which had been locked at 10-9 in the Blue’s favour for 16 minutes.
He crashed onto a pass in midfield in the 62nd minute, kept his feet as he broke through two tackles then handed off to five-eighth Otere Black who scored under the posts and converted a try which gave the Blues an eight-point buffer.
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Winger Rieko Ioane made the game safer with a late try, his seventh in his last three games.
Blues winger Tanielu Tele’a scored a first half try but was sent off in the second half for a dangerous tackle.
The Blues held on with 14 men for 11 minutes to post three wins in a row for the first time in four years.
“It was pretty tough,” Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu said.
“We knew the challenge we had in front of us with a strong, physical Stormers forward pack and I’m just proud of the way the boys matched that.”
The Stormers had scored nine tries this season before this setback, with six coming via lineout drives.
They were expected to use that tactic again but caught the Blues by surprise when they ignored the set piece and sought to move the ball by hand.
However, they lacked a finishing touch.
“We started off brilliantly and played some goo d rugby but you have no show if you can’t score the points,” said Stormers captain Siya Kolisi.
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