All Blacks’ plans for NRL code-hopper

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck may make his rugby debut earlier than anticipated after confirming he will quit the NRL at the end of the season to chase a berth with the All Blacks.

The Warriors captain will see out 2021 playing rugby league but has eyes on the 2023 Rugby World Cup and wants to defect to the 15-man code with enough time to prove his worth to New Zealand selectors.

The NZ Herald reports Tuivasa-Sheck may skip this year’s Rugby League World Cup, scheduled to take place in England between October 23-November 27, so he can fast-track his development in rugby union.

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The 27-year-old hasn’t played union since school and could skip the chance to captain his country at the season-ending tournament, so he can play in New Zealand’s provincial Mitre 10 Cup and find his feet again in a footy code that has been foreign to him for a decade.

Tuivasa-Sheck is one of the NRL’s premier fullbacks, but the NZ Herald reports All Blacks officials are considering trying him out in the centres, because their midfield options aren’t as plentiful as elsewhere in the backline.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors.Source:Getty Images

Tuivasa-Sheck, the 2020 Dally M Captain of the Year, confirmed on the weekend he would be leaving rugby league after this season in an effort to emulate fellow Kiwi code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams, who won NRL premierships with the Bulldogs and Roosters as well as World Cups with the All Blacks.

“It’s always been there, it’s no secret,” Tuivasa-Sheck said. “Rugby has been the game I’ve grown up playing. It’s always been there in the background.

“To do it now in a time like this and have the club’s support, that’s why I chose it now.”

Tuivasa-Sheck is expected to play for the Blues in the Super Rugby competition, as other franchises like the Chiefs and Highlanders also chased his signature.

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