17 Jan 2013

Roosters target Tigers trial for SBW debut

12:26 pm on 17 January 2013

TheSydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has earmarked his side's National Rugby League pre-season trial match against Wests Tigers on February 23 as Sonny Bill Williams' return to the code.

The New Zealand dual international will run out as a league player for the first time since his controversial exit from Canterbury midway through the 2008 season.

However, the 27-year-old's appearance will depend on how well he recovers from his heavyweight boxing fight against 44-year-old South African Francois Botha in Brisbane on February 8th.

The contest was moved back after the All Blacks World Cup winner tore a pectoral muscle during his lucrative spell in Japanese rugby in November.

Although he's yet to train with his new teammates, Robinson expects Williams, who is certain to play in the back-row, to have an immediate effect around the club.

Robinson admits Williams' pre-season is somewhat unorthodox and says he'll need to prove he is ready to play before he will be thrown in the deep end.

Williams joins James Maloney and Michael Jennings as the Roosters' big-money signings for 2013 and Robinson admits the pressure is on him to succeed in his first season.