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Ex-NRL star tipped to join Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in Auckland squad

By Alex McLeod

Trending on RugbyPass

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Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is tipped to be reunited with one of his former Warriors teammates after Auckland Rugby announced another unnamed cross-code star is set to join the province.

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Auckland Rugby took to social media on Thursday to announce a new player signing is imminent in the wake of Tuivasa-Sheck’s shock exit from the Warriors earlier this week, which paves the way for him to play for the province over the coming weeks.

“We hear you! We’re still making moves behind the scenes,” Auckland Rugby captioned a post of a silhouette of an unnamed player on Facebook and Instagram.

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“This dual-international joins his other Rugby League loving friend this season.”

While the identity of the dual-code player has not yet been revealed, fans and pundits have flooded the comments section in each of the posts speculating that the player in question is Brumbies wing Solomone Kata.

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The silhouette used in the post looks akin to that of Kata, leading numerous social media users to predict the former Warriors and Melbourne Storm powerhouse is heading to Eden Park ahead of the upcoming provincial season.

Kata, a New Zealand and Tongan rugby league international, signed with the Brumbies ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season after five seasons in the NRL.

During his time in the 13-man game, the 26-year-old was Tuivasa-Sheck’s teammate at the Warriors between 2016 and 2019.

In 2018, the pair helped guide the Warriors to their first NRL play-offs appearance in seven years, with Kata contributing 12 tries in 23 appearances.

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In total, Kata – a former Tonga U21 rugby union representative who moved to New Zealand as a schoolboy in 2011 after taking up a rugby scholarship to attend Sacred Heart College in Auckland – scored 46 tries in 93 NRL matches.

Since his move to rugby union, Kata has chalked up five tries in 19 appearances, with all five of his tries coming in his first six outings to open the 2020 season.

Kata, who was part of the Brumbies side that claimed the inaugural Super Rugby AU title last year, has made a name for himself as a powerful and damaging ball-runner.

That much was reflected in this year’s Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, where he was among the league leaders for defenders beaten.

Kata wouldn’t be the only Australian-based Super Rugby player to play in this year’s NPC, as Reds flanker Angus Scott-Young was named in the Bay of Plenty squad earlier this week.

Scott-Young cited the lack of top-level rugby in Australia at this time of the year as a reason behind his temporary move across the ditch.

“With no provincial rugby taking place in Australia at the back end of this year, there is a five-month period where there isn’t much high-level rugby on offer,” he said.

“For me personally, I wanted to come to a new environment. I got my manager to put some feelers out to New Zealand, and this opportunity came up.

“I’ve always wanted to play in New Zealand. You guys are the best in the world.”

The 2021 NPC season is due to kick-off next weekend, with Auckland scheduled to open their campaign against fierce rivals Canterbury at Eden Park on August 8.

The Auckland squad is set to be fully unveiled after their final pre-season clash against Northland this weekend.

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Ex-NRL star tipped to join Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in Auckland squad

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