NZ Herald

A pair of Kiwi rugby players as well as a coach have sounded out their excitement over the news of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s move to rugby.

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Tuivasa-Sheck, captain of the Warriors and a nine-year rugby league veteran, will leave his post in the NRL after the 2021 season, electing to pursue his dream in rugby union the following year.

The 27-year-old has his eyes set on representing the All Blacks at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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All Blacks and Blues loose forward Akira Ioane admits the team was in a bit of shock when they heard the news.

But he isn’t getting fixated over Tuivasa-Sheck’s possible link-up with the Blues.

“He’s just down the road; he’s always welcome at the Blues. But we’re not really thinking about that, [we’re] focused on what we need to work on for the pre-season games, and working into that first game,” Ioane says.

“He’s still got to play Warriors this year and we still got to worry about Super Rugby and everything else after that, so whatever happens, happens.

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“No doubt he’ll do well, but I think he’s more worried about playing for the Waz and making sure they do a job over in Aussie.”

The Super Rugby club Tuivasa-Sheck inks a deal with is unknown at this stage, however it is believed he will sign a two-year contract with the Blues this week – a logical option given his past representation with the franchise, as well as his family being based in Auckland.

Crusaders flanker Whetukamokamo Douglas says Tuivasa-Sheck is a player he would love to play with or against.

“Yeah of course, when I think about him he’s a professional, an inspirational leader and a talented athlete as well. I think rugby in general; it’ll be awesome to have him come over.”

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Andrew Goodman, an assistant for the red and blacks, describes Tuivasa-Sheck as a “special player”.

“He’s done some amazing things in rugby league. [I] think he’s an Auckland boy so will be hard to get him out of there, but amazing talent that any of the five teams would love to have.

“Roger’s got an advantage that he played rugby throughout his school career … throughout his career with the Warriors, pretty amazing skillset so I’m sure it’ll transfer over really well.

“Interesting to see where he goes.”

Both the Blues and Crusaders are making preparations for Super Rugby Aotearoa which kicks off on February 26. The two teams meet for their final preseason game on February 20.

While his inclusion in Super Rugby will not be until 2022, Tuivasa-Sheck could line up in rugby as early as this year in the Mitre 10 Cup for Auckland. The Herald understands Tuivasa-Sheck is hoping to make a successful transition back into the 15-man game, which would include a stint with the blue and white hoops this year.

The 2021 NRL grand final is slated for October 3, while the Mitre 10 Cup window is set for September 11 until November 27, offering the 27-year-old a good chunk of time with the provincial side should he wish.

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and is republished with permission.

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