Sonny Bill Williams is hoping to go from playing in front of a few hundred spectators in the rain at Bombay Rugby Club to facing Australia next weekend after the New Zealand centre lapped up a grassroots return on Saturday.
The cross-code powerhouse turned out for Counties B in an inter-squad match six weeks after his red card for a shoulder charge on British and Irish Lions wing Anthony Watson in the second Test.
Williams played 65 minutes on a very different stage from what he has become accustomed to at the small South Auckland rugby club, a week before he could do battle with the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney.
The 32-year-old was cleared to face Michael Cheika's side following an appeal, as the All Blacks' 'game of three halves' against Taranaki and Counties Manukau on Friday was eventually deemed to count as the final match of his suspension.
Williams hopes Steve Hansen gives him the nod for the Trans-Tasman clash after letting off some steam in less salubrious surroundings than usual.
Massive thank you to Counties rugby B team for having me today. Good luck for the rest of the season boys pic.twitter.com/2XTwGmP42a— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) August 12, 2017
"I've put my best foot forward now and I've got to train hard and hopefully get up for selection," he said.
"I'll see how we go but it's going to be a tough battle over there. It's like my second home over there [Sydney]. My wife's from there and I always have good time when I go back so I'm looking forward to a bit more sunshine."
He added: "It was good to, A, get out and play the game that I love and, B, get back to some grassroots footy.
"I don't know how often the fields get looked after but it was pretty tough conditions out there. But it was good to play with the boys and get a hand on the ball.
"You chuck a bit of deep heat on before the game and you're ready to go. The boys were really good, I know a few of them and it was just good to get back out there."
23 de febrero 2018
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Guadalajara poised for quarters, Red Bulls draw|
|Del Potro stunned by Tiafoe at Delray Beach Open|
|Bouchard lawyer satisfied after jury rules against USTA|
|´Enough is enough, we gotta take action´ - Panthers´ Luongo on gun control|
|Former NBA pair help Brazil stay perfect in World Cup qualifying|
|Keane: Wilshere is the most over-rated player on the planet|
|Monfils wins rain-interrupted clash against top seed Cilic|
|Earnhardt says short-track speed skating is ´NASCAR on ice´|
|My knee flared up – Wawrinka reveals reason for retirement|
|Stoger: Dortmund were lucky to survive Atalanta scare|
|Gattuso hopes to continue as AC Milan boss|
|Europa League Review: Arsenal survive scare, Dortmund battle past Atalanta|
|Noren, Simpson share Honda Classic lead after Tiger shoots 70|
|´Complacent´ Arsenal had no ideas, Wenger admits|
|Wilshere pulls no punches after Arsenal´s Ostersunds defeat|
|Batshuayi accuses Atalanta fans of racism|
|Mercedes not responsible for spoiling F1 spectacle, Wolff claims|
22 de febrero 2018
|Veteran kicker Vinatieri signs with Colts for further year|
|More injury woe as Wawrinka retires from Open 13 Marseille|
|Villarreal defender Semedo charged with attempted murder|
|West Indies taking nothing for granted in World Cup qualifying|
|Police officer dies after clashes between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow fans|
|Atalanta 1 Borussia Dortmund 1 (3-4 agg): Returning Schmelzer strikes late|
|AC Milan 1 Ludogorets 0 (4-0 agg): Borini strike secures victory at San Siro|
|Arsenal 1 Ostersunds 2 (4-2 agg): Gunners through despite Emirates shock|
|Kerber back in the top 10 where she belongs, Schuttler proclaims|
|Simeone open to Carrasco, Torres exits amid CSL reports|
|Mancini: Zenit not Europa League contenders|
|Confident Kerber enjoying ´fresh start´ after downing Pliskova|
|Honda Classic grind ´like playing a British Open´, says Woods|
|Europa League Review: Napoli´s comeback in vain, Immobile sends Lazio through|
|Ferdinand has doubts over Kane´s Tottenham future|
|Zenit 3 Celtic 0 (3-1 agg): Ivanovic inspires second-leg turnaround|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Copenhagen 0 (5-1 agg): Gameiro ensures Simeone´s men cruise through|
|Six Nations 2018: Owen Farrell ´jumping out of his skin´ to face Scotland, Eddie Jones says|
|Why De Gea really is untouchable as the Premier League´s best goalkeeper|
|Woods, Thomas start strong at Honda Classic|
|Farrell ´jumping out of his skin´ to face Scotland, says Jones|
|I wouldn´t sell him - Arbeloa wants Bale to remain at Real Madrid|
|Two Grand Slams and 2,253 points scored - Gatland´s 100 Wales matches in Opta numbers|
|Leeds United delay reveal of new club crest|
|Guti urges Neymar to leave PSG for Real Madrid|
|Bottas: I can beat Hamilton to F1 title|
|Vettel and Ferrari ´fired up´ for 2018 after unveiling SF71H|
|Azpilicueta: Chelsea must be perfect to beat Barcelona|
|Rai´s big finish ensures three-way tie in Qatar|
|Roma star Under tipped to win Ballon d´Or before 2023|
|WATCH: Snedeker splashes around for a soggy six at Honda Classic|
|Hamilton says Vettel rivalry ´could be worse´ in 2018|
|Zola denies he will join Sarri at Chelsea next season|
|Barcelona is my club - Sergi Roberto rejects other interest to sign new deal|
|Lewandowski employs Zahavi as agent as Real Madrid rumours continue|
|If you gave me a chainsaw I´d take it off - Wolff not keen on halo|
|Farrell and Porter among five Ireland changes|
|Pardew confirms Evans remains West Brom captain|
|Muntari joins Seedorf at Deportivo La Coruna|
|F1 champs Mercedes launch new W09|
|Wigan coach Wane ponders Hardaker lifeline|
|Hamilton hopes for pre-season contract resolution|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Joy for Gisin, Hirscher´s woe and record-breaking win for Wu|
|Rooney: Moving to China for the money would have been easy|
|Carrasco left out of Atletico squad amid China move reports|
|Arthur: Move to Barcelona still on track|
|Blatter backs Morocco 2026 World Cup bid|
|Moeen backs Rashid, Hales white-ball decisions|
|Wenger sees Welbeck emerging from torrid struggles|
|Zidane stands by selfless Benzema|
|Sodhi earns New Zealand ODI recall|
|´Important names´ keen on Inter star Icardi|
|Hughes returns in only England change|