Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles has backed his long time teammate TJ Perenara to succeed in the 13-man code should he agree to terms to join the Sydney Roosters as rumoured.
Speaking to media after announcing a two-year deal with NZR and the Hurricanes until the end of 2023, Coles was asked for his thoughts on the code switch for the Hurricanes halfback who is currently playing in Japan.
“The guy is made for league,” Coles told 1 News.
“He’s tough, he’s fit, he’s skillful – as much as I’d love to see him back in rugby, if it’s a six-month gig for the Roosters, well, you don’t get many of those in your lifetime.”
Coles said that he hadn’t spoke to Perenara about it, but admitted he would be torn be the decision as an avid league fan himself and a current teammate of Perenara in rugby.
“I haven’t spoken to him and his family, but it’s up to him,” Coles said.
“I’m 50-50, I haven’t heard anything in the changing room chat but it’s a decision he’s probably weighing up, for sure.”
“Personally, because I’m a real passionate rugby league fan, it’d be awesome to see him have a crack.
“But if you put your rugby hat on, you don’t want to lose a guy like that to the game, especially for the Hurricanes.
“I’ve played a lot of rugby with TJ and you don’t get a lot of guys like that.”
When quizzed on how many NRL clubs he had been talking to, Coles joked that he would only turn out for one club, the New Zealand Warriors and would be awesome to finish his career with them.
“I’d only go to one team and that’s the Warriors,” he said.
“It’d be awesome to finish my career with them.”
Coles said his two-year extension with NZR would ‘probably’ allow him to finish his career in New Zealand after weighing up retirement after last year. He said that he was prepared to walk away if no deal was on offer, but their was mutual interest.
“I still had the desire to play, but if New Zealand Rugby or the Hurricanes decided that was it, I was happy to move on and start the next chapter,” he said.
“But when they came to me, I really thought about it and talked to a few people.
When asked what lead to his decision to stay in New Zealand Rugby instead of moving overseas like many of the professionals do, Coles highlighted that being home and playing for teams that he cared about it is what mattered most.
“I think the lifestyle, I’m a pretty simple man, I’ve moved home to Kapiti. Just being home and playing for teams that I’m passionate about, that’s what it came down to.
“My priority was my family. I’ve seen other boys have to go overseas and their families have to come home to New Zealand. I just think being away from my kids would be a bit too hard for me and my wife.
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