According to reports in the Kiwi press, Sonny Bill Williams is set to make an early return to Rugby Union with Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup.
The dual-code international just wrapped up his second stint in Rugby League after his Sydney Roosters lost their NRL semi-final to South Sydney and is keen to get back into the 15-man game as soon as possible.
The 29-year-old is in line to join the Steelers for their National Provincial Championship match against Southland in Invercargill on Saturday before games next week at home to Auckland and away to Tasman.
Counties Manukau chief executive Andrew Maddock told NZ Newswire an announcement related to Williams will be made on Tuesday.
Counties coach Tana Umaga – a team-mate at Toulon when Williams first switched to union in 2008 – declined to confirm the news but said he was “hoping” Williams would be available for the season run-in.
“As has always been the case, it is just a wait and see and wait until we are contacted,” he told Fairfax Media.
“Knowing Sonny and the man he is, he would want to do it the right way. He likes to gain the respect of people, I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a call at some stage to say he might be coming over, well, I am hoping.”
Williams has signed a two-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Chiefs from 2015, but is set to join the All Blacks on their November tour to the USA and Britain after an exemption to their eligibility rules was approved last month.