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All Blacks scrum-half TJ Perenara responds to NRL code switch speculation and reveals position he would love to play

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All Blacks World Cup winner TJ Perenara says he is deadly serious about considering a spectacular cross-code move to the Sydney Roosters, revealing he has harboured a dream to play in the NRL for years. The New Zealand scrum-half outlined that he won’t make a decision until his Japanese Top League commitments with the Red Hurricanes are finished next month.


However, the 29-year-old said on Tuesday “there are a few different scenarios on the table” after speaking directly with Roosters coach Trent Robinson. “I would be doing the club and the boys that I have worked hard with an injustice by focusing on anything else besides our games coming up,” Perenara said from Tokyo.

“So I wanted to make a conscious decision to focus on the games at hand and, when there is some time to put some thought into other things, then do that in good time.”

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Ex-All Blacks half-back Andy Ellis on the quality of the MLR

There is a notion that Perenara could be angling for a better deal from New Zealand rugby but the 66-Test half-back said he honestly believed he could be a success at hooker for the Roosters as a replacement for recently retired co-captain Jake Friend. “It’s definitely genuine from both parties as well,” Perenara said.

“It’s something that would be a challenge and something that I have thought about throughout the course of my career. I have played league when I was a little bit younger so in contract years I have often thought about it but never engaged in conversations to the extent we are at now. I feel the game for a hooker suits the style of game that I like to play already in rugby.

“Knowing, though, that there are more tackles to be made in league and going back and forth ten metres (in defence), the fitness, getting up and off the deck, is a little bit more in league than it is in union, so I understand there will be some physical conditioning side of things that I will have to adapt to, but I do think I can be successful in league as well.”


The thought of having to make 40 tackles a game doesn’t faze Perenara at all. “It will take some getting used to. I don’t think it’s something I could walk into tomorrow and be able to do without noticing the difference,” he said. “I’ll have to put a lot of time and effort into doing but it’s not something that I think would be the biggest challenge going to the game – the physical side of it.

“Entering a team later in the year and trying to gel with players to win a championship, that will be the biggest time constraint. Physically, we can put in all the work we need to do on the training field but it’s that relationship building that will be the big one.”


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