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Kiwis and Storm star set for shock switch to rugby union

By Sam Smith
Nelson Asofa-Solomona. (Photo by Brett Phibbs/Photosport)

Melbourne Storm and Kiwis prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona will make a surprise switch from rugby league to union, according to a report out of Australia.

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Asofa-Solomona, who is currently contracted to the Storm but is unable to be involved with the team due to his vaccination status, is set to sign with Robbie Deans’ Saitama Wild Knights for the 2023 League One season but could end up playing in the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season for an Australian side.

Fox Sports has reported that Rugby Australia are keeping an eye on the 25-year-old but that the organisation wouldn’t be willing to break the bank to keep the prop in the country, due to the relative talent Australia already boasts in the loose forwards.

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Catch highlights from one of the opening round clashes from Japan’s Rugby League One competition.
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Catch highlights from one of the opening round clashes from Japan’s Rugby League One competition.

Asofa-Solomona’s unvaccinated status, however, would likely cause problems throughout Super Rugby Pacific, given the relatively stringent travel conditions that will inevitably exist for any players looking to move between states and countries.

Asofa-Solomona attended Wellington College in New Zealand’s capital and was signed by Melbourne Storm as just a 15-year-old. He debuted for the Storm in 2015 and has since accumulated 141 appearances for the NRL’s most successful team of the modern era as well as two Premierships. The New Zealander also made a handful of appearances to the NZ national side.

Fox Sports also reported that the Wild Knights attempted to lure Wallabies superstar Taniela Tupou to Japan but were unsuccessful in their approaches.

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