‘He’s untouchable’: What the Blues ‘want to see’ from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Following a lengthy stint on the sidelines with a hand injury, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made a successful return to Super Rugby Pacific against Moana Pasifika last month.
But then, just a week later, the All Blacks and Blues midfielder was dropped from the matchday squad ahead of the teams highly anticipated clash with the champion Crusaders in Christchurch.
For a player who is undoubtedly chasing the dream of playing for the All Blacks at a Rugby World Cup, time doesn’t appear to be on his side.
But Tuivasa-Sheck is back for the Blues this week – although, he’s not starting against the Queensland Reds.
When the Blues’ team list came out on Wednesday ahead of their trip to Brisbane, Tuivasa-Sheck was omitted from the starting side for the second week in a row.
Playmaker Harry Plummer has retained his spot in the No. 12 jersey, while Tuivasa-Sheck will be called upon to make an impact off the bench at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
But the dual international is back, nonetheless.
With just three rounds to go in the Super Rugby Pacific regular season, assistant coach Daniel Halangahu has revealed what the Blues’ want to see from the All Black moving forward.
“I think for a guy that hasn’t played heaps of rugby, it was always going to take a little bit for him to come back to his best,” Halangahu said.
“What we want to see is what everyone wants to see, we want to see that footwork, and we want to see him beating people.
“It’s up to us as a group to put him in those situations, because we know when he’s in space, he’s untouchable, almost.
“For him, it’s around the little micro-communications, and he knows that, he’s been working really hard on it. He’s very committed to that, he comes in with a smile on his face, and he’s working hard for it – I applaud him for that.”
Since switching codes, Tuivasa-Sheck has faced an almost unprecedented level of pressure and scrutiny.
As far as code hoppers go, the sky appeared to be the limit for Tuivasa-Sheck – but, the sky was almost also the benchmark.
New Zealand Rugby fans expected great things from the 2018 Dally M medallist, and so far at least, he’s failed to fire.
But Tuivasa-Sheck isn’t the only player facing an increasingly level of pressure.
Throughout this year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign, playmaker Beauden Barrett has come under fire for some uncharacteristically poor performances.
Barrett has been outplayed by Damian McKenzie and Richie Mo’unga in matches this season, but the Blues aren’t beginning to pin the blame on their star No. 10.
“We put very little of it on Beauden,” he added. “His focus, with the No. 9, is on the ruck. The No. 15, wingers, they’ve got so much more time than our game drivers to see that space, and they then need to communicate.
“I think that’s part of the reason the All Blacks use Beauden at fullback, because we know how good his communication is and how he sees that space.
“We never put that on our tens, whether it is Beauden or someone else, it’s the other guys being able to communicate space and communicate options, and be really decisive and execute.
“That’s part of the thing we’re working with Roger on, and being able to get his eyes up and see that space and getting an effective call in.”
Following their loss to the Crusaders in round 12, the Blues will be eager to bounce back this Friday when they play the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free
Great read. Top player, even better man.Go to comments
So I’m assuming England centrally contract the women as there’s no money in the women’s game? Time they did the same in the men’sGo to comments