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'Just a difficult situation': Spotlight on Tuivasa-Sheck's defence after Crusaders loss

By Kim Ekin
Leicester Fainga'anuku of the Crusaders is tackled by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Blues during the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Final match between the Blues and the Crusaders at Eden Park on June 18, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Blues midfielder Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s defensive technique has come under the spotlight in the wake of the Blues 34-28 loss to the Crusaders.


The frantic pace of the game meant that attacking prowess overshadowed the defence for both teams, but scrutiny has fallen on the league convert who is attempting to make a World Cup push with the All Blacks.

The second five-eighth had the second most missed tackles on the night with five, while making four for a completion rate of 44 per cent, well below test standard.

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By comparison Crusaders young No 12 Dallas McLeod finished with 17 from 19 attempts in what was an impressive performance in his 15th Super Rugby cap.

Former All Black great John Kirwan said the former NRL star had to learn to complete the rush defence tackles coming out of the line, something that is still new for the former Warriors fullback.

“I think, in rugby league, it’s not very often you jump out of line and that’s something that Roger needs to learn,” Kirwan told Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown. 

“He jumped out of line defensively before and didn’t make the tackle, but that’s one of his learnings.


“When he missed the tackle on Leicester, that was just a difficult situation. I think he’s getting better, he’ll continue to learn.

“Is he running out of time? He needs to continue to show the form and keep growing.

“I saw him on the bench last night, and I wanted to go out and give him a big hug, because he just looked really disappointed in himself, but he shouldn’t be.

“You’ve got to be able to jump out of line in rugby and make those tackles. He didn’t make those tackles, but it’s good learning and he’ll learn from that.”

Ex-All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina was surprised to see the Blues take Tuivasa-Sheck out of the game early with the scores so close.


He didn’t think the showing was all that concerning as Tuivasa-Sheck showed enough with the ball-in-hand, including a nice try in the first half.

“I thought he had a solid performance,” he told The Breakdown panel.

“A couple of times he came out of [the] line and obviously missed the tackle.

“He scored a wonderful try, but I just think he’s starting to get into a bit of rhythm. When he went off, I was quite surprised they subbed him, but Bryce Heem actually came on and had an outstanding game.

“It was a nice, technical move.”


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RUGBYPASS+ Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things' Adam Hastings: 'When you're injured, you question a lot of things'