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."
12. Dezember 2017
|Cook dismisses retirement talk heading into 150th Test|
|Williamson lauds record-equalling Taylor as Kiwis celebrate series win|
|Dolphins stun Brady and Patriots|
|Inzaghi and Lazio left feeling ´defrauded´ after Torino defeat|
|Marsh confident and ready to heap misery on England|
|New Zealand sweep Windies with 240-run victory|
|Man United more boring under Mourinho, claims Van Gaal|
|Rodgers return a medical decision for Packers|
|Stanton rips ´unprofessional´ and ´circus times´ with Marlins|
|Zidane: Real Madrid want to win Club World Cup|
|Worker to open batting as Guptill misses ODI series|
|Stanton excited to step into ´winning environment´ with Yankees|
|Morata ruled out of Huddersfield trip due to ´impossible´ workload|
11. Dezember 2017
|Valverde singles out Hazard & Morata as chief Chelsea threats|
|Irving to miss Bulls game with quad injury|
|Lazio 1 Torino 3: Inzaghi´s men lose ground as Immobile sees red|
|Reading 2 Cardiff City 2: Late comeback makes light of Warnock dismissal|
|Jets QB McCown´s season over with broken hand|
|Wagner received no contact over Borussia Dortmund job|
|From the ridiculous to the sublime - Clermont overcome ´absurd´ episode to thump Saracens|
|A Mourinho myth? Man United booked for simulation more than any Premier League side|
|Eagles QB Wentz out for season with torn ACL|
|Brook to face Rabchenko in light-middleweight bow|
|Yankees confirm Stanton deal|
|Clermont irked by ´absurd´ Saracens saga|
|Bairstow wants England to regain trust|
|Ronaldo´s ego is his biggest motivator - Valdano|
|Bayern threaten legal action over Leno transfer rumours|
|Thompson welcomes golf´s change in policy over viewer call-ins|
|Potter delighted by underdog Ostersunds´ trip to Arsenal|
|Chelsea can bounce back from West Ham loss, says Conte|
|Real Madrid will relish PSG test, says Xabi Alonso|
|Conte urges Chelsea to be ´positive´ over Barca Champions League draw|
|Heynckes wary of Besiktas threat|
|Ostersunds handed fairytale Arsenal tie, Napoli face Leipzig|
|Taylor pays moving tribute to Crowe after equalling century record|
|Emery: PSG ´can compete with Real Madrid´|
|Totti urges Roma focus on Serie A despite encouraging Champions League draw|
|Europa League: Last 32 draw in full|
|Messi faces toughest foe in Champions League|
|Tigers confirm broken jaw for Veainu as Tuilagi nears return|
|AC Milan signed too many players, admits Fassone|
|Real Madrid face PSG, Chelsea drawn with Barcelona|
|FA seeking information over Manchester derby incident|
|India agree to be Afghanistan´s first Test opponents|
|He is one of the best strikers in the Premier League - Wilshere hails Giroud|
|Jamshed banned for failing to co-operate with PCB anti-corruption unit|
|Mata: No time to mourn derby defeat|
|Hitzfeld tells Nagelsmann to honour Hoffenheim contract|
|Amor: Mascherano future to become clear soon|
|Good things come to those who wait - Shubhankar wins Joburg Open in Monday finish|
|Huddersfield confident of Chelsea scalp - Ince|
|Sea Eagles facing sanctions over salary cap breach|
|Paine denies Aussies have crossed line with Ashes sledging|
|Road to Super Bowl hits speed bump as Eagles sweat on Wentz fitness|
|Taylor hits record ton as Windies chase mammoth total|
|Oladipo´s career performance keeps Pacers rolling|
|De Bruyne: Man City have to enjoy derby victory|
|Suspended Smith-Schuster watches on in Steelers helmet|
|Bancroft and Warner ´kissed and made up´ after Adelaide mix up|
|There is no-one like Messi – Alcacer|
|Pederson unwilling to comment on Wentz amid ACL fears|
|Kane: Bring on the best in Champions League|
|Neville: Lukaku needs to believe amid Man United struggles|
|Fitzgerald now third all time in receiving yards|
|Eagles QB Wentz suffers knee injury|
|Messi best player of all time – Rakitic|
|Gattuso: I´m even tense playing football with my son|
|Suarez admits Villarreal red swung it for Barcelona|
|Villarreal win ´crucial´ for Barcelona boss Valverde|