The Blues are expected to confirm their deal with NRL superstar Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on Saturday after the franchise arranged a media opportunity to be held at their headquarters tomorrow.
Tuivasa-Sheck announced last weekend that this year would be his last in rugby league as he chases a place in the All Blacks leading into the 2023 World Cup.
Although he confirmed his cross-code switch, the 27-year-old Warriors captain said he hadn’t signed with any Super Rugby franchise.
However, it has been widely speculated that the Blues are hot favourites to land his signature given that he hails from Auckland, which is also where his young family are based.
That speculation looks set to become reality this weekend as Blues head coach Leon MacDonald and chief executive Andrew Hore are expected to confirm the acquisition of Tuivasa-Sheck from 2022 and beyond.
Other details of the 2018 Dally M Medal recipient’s contract with New Zealand Rugby are also expected to be revealed, with reports suggesting Tuivasa-Sheck is in line to play for Auckland – potentially as early as this year – in the Mitre 10 Cup.
By joining the Blues, Tuivasa-Sheck would join a squad that is already bursting at the seams with quality.
Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane and Caleb Clarke are the headline names in the backline, while others, including Mark Telea, Otere Black, TJ Faiane and Finlay Christie, have established themselves as regular starters.
There also a raft of talented youngsters and rookies coming through the ranks this season, such as Stephen Perofeta, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, AJ Lam and Zarn Sullivan, which begged the question over which position Tuivasa-Sheck will slot following his transition.
A natural fullback in rugby league, the 2013 NRL Premiership winner has been touted as a wing or fullback in union, although there have been murmurs that he is viewed as a potential midfielder by the All Blacks.
Regardless of where he plays, Tuivasa-Sheck is bound to be a valued asset for the Blues, who also boast an impressive forward pack, featuring nine All Blacks.
Following their resurgent season last year, the Blues stand as title frontrunners in this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa, and will kick-off their campaign against the Hurricanes in Wellington on February 27.
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