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Sydney Roosters star backs All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara to make successful NRL switch

By AAP

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Angus Crichton swapped rugby union for the 13-man game years ago and hopes All Blacks ace TJ Perenara makes the same choice this year.

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Sydney Roosters second-rower Crichton has backed the Kiwi half to be a success in the NRL if the club is able to recruit the 29-year-old when his deal with Japanese rugby ends next month.

Crichton was a Australian Schoolboys rugby star before he signed with South Sydney as a 19-year-old in 2015.

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On Tuesday he backed the Roosters’ surprise plan to transform Perenara – a veteran of 69 tests for the All Blacks – into a No.9 replacement for Jake Friend.

“I don’t know him personally, it’s pretty exciting for us,” Crichton said.

“Losing Jake, a massive part of our team and the chat is that [Perenara] would try and play hooker.

“I’ve watched him play rugby and he’s a class player.

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“I don’t know if he’s had any history in rugby league but it would be pretty cool to see someone try and make that swap.

“I’m a rugby fan and to have an All Black come into our team would be pretty cool.”

The Roosters are hesitant to speculate on how Perenara would fit into the side or when he would be introduced to the top grade should they strike a deal.

However, he could be set to join them in June if he decides to make the switch.

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Perenara’s passing accuracy would be a huge advantage, in addition to his presence around the team having been a part of the  successful All Blacks culture – similar to Sonny Bill Williams.

Tackling work behind the ruck would be the biggest hurdle for Perenara, going from handful per game to almost 50 as a hooker in rugby league.

“It would be easier to go from rugby to rugby league than it would be to go from league to union, just because it’s a similar game there’s less intricate details you’d have to pick up on,” Crichton said.

“It’d be interesting to see how he goes, he’d be making a lot more tackles than he would playing u nion but whatever decision he makes I welcome it.”

It comes as the Roosters struggle with a heavy injury toll this season with their pack hit especially hard.

Props Jared Waerea- Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho are in doubt to play St George Illawarra in the annual Anzac Day clash, while Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Freddy Lussick and Lachlan Lam are all sidelined.

Hooker Sam Verrills is a chance to make his return on Sunday from an ACL injury suffered last season, while Victor Radley will contest the grading of his careless high-tackle charge in a bid to face the Dragons.

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Sydney Roosters star backs All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara to make successful NRL switch

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