The All Blacks icons helping Tuivasa-Sheck prepare for union debut
Tuivasa-Sheck, the former Warriors captain and fullback, is expected to make his first appearance in professional rugby union for Auckland this weekend.
Auckland will host Bay of Plenty at Eden Park on Saturday, and after missing out on last weekend’s close loss to Tasman in Nelson, Tuivasa-Sheck is thought to be ready to play this weekend.
Auckland head coach Alama Ieremia was tight-lipped when asked about Tuivasa-Sheck’s availability last week, but reports have indicated the 2018 Dally M Medallist will debut against the Steamers in five days’ time.
“We’ll just take it week by week, training by training,” Ieremia said of Tuivasa-Sheck’s rugby union debut last week.
“Part of him being here last week was to experience what the team goes through, in terms of build up and warm up, understanding that and how we get into games.
“He’s just learning the game and this week we’ll find out where he’s at and it’s important that we do it properly. We also have a good team, so we don’t want to compromise what we’re doing at the moment.”
As part of his bid to ready himself for his first taste rugby union since crossing over from rugby league last month, Tuivasa-Sheck has enlisted the services of two All Blacks legends to aid his preparations.
The 28-year-old – who played 195 matches in the NRL, won the 2013 Premiership with the Sydney Roosters and played 20 tests for the Kiwis – has reportedly been training with Dan Carter and Tana Umaga in recent weeks.
According to Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, Carter, the two-time World Cup-winning All Blacks centurion, has been helping Tuivasa-Sheck with his kicking game.
Meanwhile, Umaga, the former All Blacks captain and current Blues assistant coach, has been working on Tuivasa-Sheck’s defence.
“He has Dan [Carter] giving him kicking training and Tana [Umaga] working with him on defence, and he gets to training about 2 hours early to put in extra study,” MacDonald reportedly said, as per the New Zealand Herald.
If you wondered how RTS’s change to rugby is progressing, this from Blues coach Leon MacDonald:
“He has Dan (Carter) giving him kicking training and Tana (Umaga) working with him on defence.
“And he gets to training about 2 hours early to put in extra study”
Yep, that’ll do it ?
— Michael Guerin (@GuerinSports) August 15, 2021
By working on his kicking and defensive game, Tuivasa-Sheck appears to be working on two of the key traits required of midfielders and outside backs, the two positions of which he is tipped to play in rugby union.
Whether he plays at centre, wing or fullback this weekend remains to be seen, although it was reported the former Blues U18 and New Zealand Schools rugby union star trained on the right wing last week.
Regardless of where he plays, all eyes will be on Tuivasa-Sheck should he make his debut for Auckland this weekend.
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