Roger Tuivasa-Sheck released from NRL contract on eve of NPC season
Blues-bound rugby league star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been granted an early release from his contract with the Warriors on the eve of the NPC season.
The 28-year-old has ended his time with the struggling NRL club earlier than expected and will return to New Zealand from Australia after the New Zealand Government’s announcement that the travel bubble between the two countries will pause.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Friday that New Zealanders in Australia will have a seven-day window, ending this Friday, to return home before travel between the countries pauses for at least eight weeks.
As a result, Tuivasa-Sheck has been granted an immediate release from the Warriors, who have been based in Australia for the past two seasons, ahead of his highly-anticipated cross-code switch.
“We’re hugely sympathetic to Roger’s position,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said.
“The Government paused the travel bubble last week and announced it was giving New Zealanders seven days to return home. The reality is the border might be closed for more than eight weeks.
“Roger is going to rugby union with our blessing but if we require him to see out the rest of his contract he won’t be able to return home until at least the end of September and maybe a lot later.
“It would seriously impact on his ability to make his start in union and we wouldn’t want to see that happen.”
Tuivasa-Sheck was expected to see out the NRL season with the Warriors before making the move to rugby, although there was speculation over whether he would turn out for the Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup in the United Kingdom later this year.
However, New Zealand has since withdrawn from the Rugby League World Cup due to Covid-19 concerns, which, in addition to his release from the Warriors, has paved the way for Tuivasa-Sheck to debut for Auckland over the coming weeks.
The NPC is scheduled to kick-off next weekend, with Auckland’s first match set to be played against Canterbury at Eden Park on August 8, although no indication has yet been made as to when Tuivasa-Sheck will be available for selection.
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