Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland is confident TJ Perenara will return to the Wellington-based franchise and the All Blacks as rumours continue to swirl around about the star halfback’s potential move to the NRL.
Perenara has been linked with a high-profile cross-code move to the Sydney Roosters to help alleviate the club’s loss of long-serving hooker Jake Friend.
Roosters head coach Trent Robinson last week confirmed his side’s interest in the 69-test All Black, who is currently on sabbatical in Japan with Top League club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.
It has been reported that Sydney have offered Perenara, who is off-contract with New Zealand Rugby this year, a deal worth around A$130,000 to play for the 15-time champions for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Furthermore, Melbourne Storm and Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith revealed on Matty Johns Show last Sunday that Perenara had been in contact with him in February to ask for advice about playing as a No 9 in the 13-man code.
However, Holland told media earlier this week that his “gut feel” is that the 29-year-old will return to rugby union in New Zealand.
“Obviously TJ’s got some pretty interesting offers going on, but I’m pretty sure he’s pretty keen to be an All Black and a Hurricane at the moment,” Holland said ahead of his side’s clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.
Perenara played the last of his 140 matches for the Hurricanes during last year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, and the franchise’s most-capped player said his sabbatical in Japan “doesn’t mean it’s the end for me” in New Zealand when he announced his deal with the Red Hurricanes last October.
News of Perenara’s potential switch to the NRL has been widely praised by an array of current and former players from both rugby union and rugby league over the past week.
Among those in union circles to have praised the possible move include the likes of current All Blacks Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, Ngani Laumape and Brad Weber, former cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams and ex-Wallabies fullback Matt Burke.
Likewise, current rugby league stars such as Smith, Angus Crichton, Joseph Manu, Brad Takairangi and new Blues recruit Roger Tuivasa-Sheck have all thrown their support behind Perenara’s potential code-hop.
Perenara is likely to be in action for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Nagoya this Sunday as they square off against the Honda Heat for a place in next week’s Top League quarter-finals.
Listen to the latest episode of the Aotearoa Rugby Pod below:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now