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."
|We will fight for Conte – Courtois eager to avoid repeat of Mourinho debacle|
|Bayern Munich´s Muller out for three weeks with hamstring strain|
|NFL announces Justin Timberlake as Super Bowl half-time performer|
|Sainz´s Renault debut ´very close to perfect´|
|It´s like hitting a chef with a knife and fork – Neymar blasts Marseille fans for missiles|
|Folau: Wallabies united despite same-sex vote differences|
|Ashwin & Jadeja return for India v Sri Lanka Tests|
|We all deserved substituting after 30 minutes – Henderson slams Liverpool display|
|Mbappe named Golden Boy ahead of Dembele, Rashford|
|Wiggins buzzer-beater leads Timberwolves past Thunder|
|Neymar: Red card was harsh|
|Chargers, Rams and Jaguars record shutouts|
|Patriots dominate Falcons in Super Bowl rematch|
|Verratti: If I was Neymar, I would´ve lost it much earlier|
|Walters to join Broncos as assistant after Maroons renewal|
|Benzema isn´t overrated, insists Madrid boss Zidane|
|Phoenix Suns fire head coach Earl Watson|
|McVay: Rams haven´t arrived by any stretch|
|Cassano: I could´ve been playing on Mars like Messi and Neymar|
|Neymar red card unfair – Emery|
|Cardinals confident in Stanton after ´gut punch´ Palmer injury|
|Kane can become like Ronaldo and Messi, says Kobe Bryant|
|Truex wins at Kansas as play-off drivers find trouble|
|MLS Review: Portland top west, Earthquakes reach play-offs|
|Triceps injury ends consecutive snaps streak for Browns´ Thomas|
|Job (almost) done: How Hamilton can wrap up F1 title in Mexico|
|All Blacks name four uncapped players for November tour|
|Three to go, three more to win - Hamilton issues rallying call with F1 title in sight|
|Kane pleased with Spurs´ spectacle for NBA legend Kobe Bryant|
|Zidane backs ´player of a generation´ Ronaldo to rediscover goalscoring touch|
|Cavani calls on PSG to keep improving after Classique draw|
|Hopefully next year the fans won´t come - Verstappen enraged by penalty|
|We can see the fat lady backstage - Wolff delighted as Hamilton nears title triumph|
|Conte agrees with Guardiola and Mourinho over EFL Cup|
|Even the Golden State Warriors lose - Guardiola dismisses City ´Invincibles´ tag|
|I am different to other managers – Why Conte does not fear Chelsea axe|
|Character is key for Cahill as Chelsea chase consistency|
|Marcelo lauds Benzema as Europe´s best striker|
|Pochettino lauds Spurs for delivering in front of Maradona|
|Marseille 2 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Cavani rescues visitors after Neymar sees red|
|Hamilton on brink of F1 title triumph following Austin win|
|Rams rout Cardinals in Twickenham shutout as Palmer suffers broken arm|
|Real Madrid 3 Eibar 0: Super Asensio spares Ronaldo´s blushes|
|Red Sox name Alex Cora as new manager|
|WATCH: Golfer Donaldson celebrates card retention with fully-clothed pool dive|
|Allegri thanks Mandzukic for red card in Udinese rout|
|CAF Champions League Review: Al Ahly advance to final in dazzling style|
|Let´s get ready to rumble! Buffer and Bolt set the stage for US GP|
|Armand double leads Exeter past Montpellier as La Rochelle win big|
|Liverpool deserve to be ninth, says under-pressure Klopp|
|Latham credits Taylor´s calming influence for reverse-sweep success|
|Wrong news - Wenger rubbishes Ozil exit rumours|
|Klopp slams Lovren: I would have stopped Kane getting the ball!|
|Udinese 2 Juventus 6: Khedira hat-trick inspires Bianconeri rout|
|We could have scored more - Two-goal Kane hails ´unbelievable´ Tottenham|
|Tottenham´s Kane one of the best - Pochettino|
|Del Potro retains Stockholm crown to enhance ATP Finals hopes|
|Atletico needed win at Celta, says Simeone|
|Tottenham set Premier League attendance record|
|Tottenham 4 Liverpool 1: Kane double increases pressure on Klopp|
|Centurion Kohli surpasses Ponting but Latham and Taylor thwart India|
|Montella questions VAR, promises ´united´ Milan will deliver|
|Tsonga overcomes Schwartzman to claim Antwerp crown|
|Garcia edges out Luiten for another Valderrama victory|
|Celta Vigo 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Fit-again Gameiro ends visitors´ winless run|
|Du Plessis carried off but Proteas seal whitewash|
|Bishoo snares five as Windies turn tables on Zimbabwe|
|Wenger: Ozil back to his best for dominant Arsenal|
|Dolberg double sinks Feyenoord in De Klassieker|
|We´ve let him down – Keane backs Koeman after Arsenal capitulation|