Sonny Bill Williams will begin a second game on the bench for Counties Manukau in his return to rugby.

Sonny Bill Williams will again be in the reserves in his second game of rugby after his switch back from league.

Williams came off the bench for the final quarter of Counties Manukau’s 41-18 national provincial championship win over Auckland in Pukekohe on Wednesday night.

He will again wear the No.22 jersey when the Steelers are away to confirmed Premiership home semi-finalists Tasman on Sunday.

The dual international made a solid return to the 15-man game against Auckland in replacing Bundee Aki at inside centre.

However, after the match, coach Tana Umaga indicated a reluctance to break up the in-form starting midfield combination of Aki and Rey Lee-Lo.

Uncapped halfback Augustine Pulu, who has been called into the All Blacks, will captain the Steelers before travelling to Brisbane ahead of the third and final Bledisloe Cup Test.

Counties Manukau sit fifth ahead ahead of the final round of NPC matches and still have a slim chance of making the play-offs.

However, they need Auckland to fail to get a bonus-point win over second-tier Northland on Saturday.