New Zealand Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is reportedly set to quit the NRL and chase an All Blacks jersey for the 2023 World Cup in a major defection from the code.
Tuivasa-Sheck is one of the NRL’s best players, having won the Dally M Medal for player of the year in 2018.
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He also captains the Warriors and was inspirational for the side as they spent the 2020 season in Australia in a move that was essential for the competition to move forward after the COVID-19 suspension.
Tuivasa-Sheck was linked to a move to the All Blacks and the Auckland Blues this season after being approached by New Zealand rugby but The Daily Telegraph has reported that the 27-year-old will make the move after finishing the season with the Warriors in 2021 before switching codes.
The report says that he would sign for the Blues and “While officially nothing has been signed, the Warriors are privately resigned to Tuivasa-Sheck’s impending departure.”
Tuivasa-Sheck would have another season on his contract but the Warriors wouldn’t stand in the early move but would insert a clause that he would return to the Warriors if he returned to rugby league.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been an inspiration for the Warriors.Source:News Corp Australia
The move would be massive for rugby league and join the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and Karmichael Hunt as high profile defectors.
Tuivasa-Sheck has long harboured ambitions of playing for the All Blacks and told the NRL.com in 2018 that he got as far as “sitting down with my manager and going through a process of what my steps of going to rugby.”
“I was counting how many players in front of me to hopefully make that World Cup squad. I had all those talks because there was a real genuine interest,” he said at the time.
“I was getting frustrated. I was starting to look elsewhere because I wanted to win. I wanted to compete in the big stages.”
The Warriors have made just one finals campaign since Tuivasa-Sheck moved to the club from the Roosters in 2016.
But it was 2020 that the star’s legend was cemented as he lead the Warriors as they relocated to Australia for the season.
Tuivasa-Sheck was the only player who didn’t have his family with him and even stayed to support his side despite missing the final game of the season through injury.
“I feel for Roger, I think he‘s doing a tremendous job. To be fair, he’s doing it tougher than all of us,” Payten said.
“He‘s the only Kiwi over here without his family and he’s got two babies under three. He‘s a personable kid. In Auckland, he doesn’t go out a lot. He lives on the edge of town. Home is his sanctuary, he‘s on his farm and likes to be home with his family.
“He‘s always on his phone – it’s tough for him. He’s got to lead the club, lead a footy team.”
It was a tough year in 2020 for Tuivasa-Sheck.Source:News Corp Australia
However, he told the Warriors website that his family would move with him this season.
“It’s definitely a lot easier this time around because it’s planned,” Tuivasa-Sheck said. “That’s probably the best part, there’s a bit more plan to it.
“My family will be here in February when we make our second move into our next place.”
He was heavily linked to a move to the 15-man code late last year with NRL 360’s Paul Kent reporting that if the Warriors had to return to Australia for 2021 “If they go to Redcliffe next year (he wants) to go and play rugby for someone in New Zealand”.
Currently on $1 million a season, it’s believed he would have to take a substantial pay cut to move to rugby.
Tuivasa-Sheck was also seen training with the New Zealand Rugby Sevens side during the off-season.
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