29 year old SBW had his first training session with the Counties Manukau team in Drury on Monday.
It was Steelers coach, Tana Umaga who coached Sonny Bill when he first made the switch to rugby union back in 2008 in Toulon, France.
SBW will begin his bid to feature at next year’s World Cup when the Steelers host Auckland in Pukekohe on Wednesday.
Auckland coach Paul Feeney has named his side to face Counties Manukau in their mid-week clash on Wednedsay at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe.
Captain Tom McCartney and Liaki Moli are expected to return from injury to the starting line up while Hadleigh Parkes and Francis Saili will combine in the midfield for the first time since Round Two.
“Hadleigh wants an opportunity at second five-eighths and we haven’t given him too many this season. He started there against Manawatu with Francis outside him and we had a good win that day.
“We also think it’s the right time to give Francis a start again, he’ll be very motivated and we look forward to see how he and Hadleigh go,” said Feeney.
The mid-week match holds huge ramifications in the race to play offs.
“In essence it’s a quarter final,” said Feeney, with the winner of this encounter likely to take fourth spot on the premiership table.
“On top of that, it’s a local derby and all the boys know each other. We want to make sure we have the momentum heading into the semi-finals, should we get there.”
While Auckland has had the edge over their southern neighbours in recent years, no more than five points have separated the two teams in their last three matches.
“They’re very dangerous with good players across the park and on their day can beat anyone. We know they are a huge threat, especially playing at home and against us.”
The likely inclusion of Sonny Bill Williams in the Counties Manukau team adds an extra edge.