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‘Big part of my motivation’: TJ Perenara eager for All Blacks return

By Finn Morton
(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Following a tough stint on the sidelines with an Achilles injury, 80-Test halfback TJ Perenara is eyeing a return to the “pinnacle of our game” with the All Blacks under new coach Scott Robertson.

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Perenara, 31, missed the entirety of this year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign with the Hurricanes after rupturing his Achilles on national duty with the All Blacks 13 months ago.

With time practically up on the game clock at England’s Twickenham Stadium, Penera suffered the painful injury which risked ending his international career.

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But Perenara hasn’t given up. Having re-signed with the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby for a further two years, the Rugby World Cup winner wants to be back in black.

“We play this game, in New Zealand, because you want to be an All Black,” Perenara told reporters last week.

“You want to play at the highest level, and represent the team you grew up loving.

“Yes, it’s a big part of my motivation. But it’s always been part of my motivation.

“It’s the pinnacle of our game. If we’re not excited about it, or driven to be part of that team, we’re in the wrong position, or doing the wrong thing.”

In Perenara’s absence, rising star Cam Roigard stepped into the shoes of the legendary rugby giant with the Hurricanes and shone – with the youngster going on to debut for the All Blacks.

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Roigard, 23, was included in New Zealand’s prestigious squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup, and the halfback is widely considered the favourite to retain the No. 9 jersey at the Hurricanes.

That in itself would make Perenara’s All Blacks ambitions even tougher to achieve, but the pair have the potential to combine for a genuinely world-class partnership in 2024.

With Aaron Smith and Brad Weber both leaving New Zealand’s shores, there’s an opportunity – in theory – for Perenara and Roigard to both push their case for All Blacks selection next year.

“I set my goals broad for a year, and then I narrow them down to my short-term goals. For me now, my short-term goal is to get back and do full-tilt team training. When I come to that point, those goals start to adapt,” Perenara said.

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“To be an All Black, you have to play good rugby, you have to be out on the field, you have to be having an impact on your team. Winning really helps too.

“All those elements will be part of those goals and those standards.”

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Comments

2 Comments
A
Andrew 179 days ago

Perenara will not be an AB again. His passing was mediocre and never improved. The AB halves in 24 will be Roigard Ratima and Fakatava.

M
Mike 180 days ago

Best team in the world.Always has been always will be.

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