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Roger Tuivasa-Sheck responds to NRL return rumours

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s first season in the All Blacks has perhaps not gone quite the way the 29-year-old would have hoped.

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After making the switch to rugby union late last season, Tuivasa-Sheck was fast-tracked into the New Zealand national side following his first season of Super Rugby Pacific. Despite being a member of the squad since the July Test series, however, Tuivasa-Sheck has managed just two games in a black jersey, earning 10 minutes off the bench against Ireland and then a further 10 minutes as a replacement in NZ’s most recent win over Australia.

While Tuivasa-Sheck’s promotion to the All Blacks came quicker than many expected, his progression from the wider squad to the playing squad has been anything but.

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, rumours have now started to circulate that Tuivasa-Sheck might be weighing up a return to the 13-man game.

“The little whisper is that there is a contract on the table for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck back at the Roosters,” said John Kirwan on The Breakdown.

Tuivasa-Sheck previously spent four seasons with the Roosters in the NRL, and was named both Dally M Winger of the Year and Dally M Fullback of the Year during his time with the Syndey-based club. Tuivasa-Sheck made over 80 appearances for the Roosters before linking up with the Warriors, where he played a further six campaigns.

The man himself has shut down any suggestions that he’ll be looking for an early exit from rugby union, however, making a post on Instagram to reaffirm his intentions.

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“Hey team, hearing [rumours of] a return to Sydney Roosters & NRL,” Tuivasa-Sheck said. “As much as I enjoyed it there, I won’t be heading back. Signed sealed delivered (sic) till the end of 2023.”

David Havili, Quinn Tupaea and Jordie Barrett have all been preferred in the No 12 jersey over Tuivasa-Sheck throughout this year’s Test season. Even if the 29-year-old had been considering an early exit from his two-year contract, the recent injury to Tupaea – which will likely see him back on the field only shortly before next year’s Rugby World Cup – might have changed his mind.

The impending return from injury of Anton Lienert-Brown will make Tuivasa-Sheck’s challenge to break into the All Blacks match-day squad even more formidable, however – although it appears that a positional switch could also be on the cards.

Notably, Tuivasa-Sheck did not give any indication of what his plans are post-Rugby World Cup – but the same could be said for any player who’s contract runs until the end of 2023.

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