Williams named Auckland Blues captain

The Auckland Blues Super 15 team Monday named lock Ali Williams as captain for the 2013 season, with coach John Kirwan saying it will give the 77-Test veteran a chance to prove his doubters wrong.

Kirwan said Williams' predecessor Keven Mealamu had relinquished the skipper's armband as he takes an extended break following the All Blacks' European tour, which will see him miss the start of the season.

Williams, 31, has struggled with injuries and form over the past 12 months but Kirwan said his experience made him the right man to lead the three-time champions, who finished a disappointing 12th on the ladder this year.

"It's a great challenge for him and one I'm sure he'll relish," said Kirwan, who took over as coach in July.

"He's had a bad run of injuries but I think he's ready for this. Because he's had a bad run... some people think he's finished -- I don't believe that and neither does he."

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