NZ Rugby, Blues welcome NRL star Tuivasa-Sheck

New Zealand Rugby and the Blues have confirmed Roger Tuivasa-Sheck signed a two-year contract that will also link him with Auckland through to the end of 2023.

The announcement comes a decade after Tuivasa-Sheck last played rugby union, a sport the 27-year-old confirmed he had always intended to play again following his illustrious rugby league career, with an eye on a place in the All Blacks squad for the 2023 World Cup.

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The Samoan-born Aucklander will see out the 2021 NRL season with the Warriors and could potentially begin his rugby union career with Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup later this year. He will be available for the Blues in the 2022 Super Rugby season.

Tuivasa-Sheck has become one of the biggest names in rugby league since embarking on a professional sports career in 2012, one year after playing for the New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby team alongside current All Blacks Patrick Tuipulotu, Ardie Savea and Ngani Laumape.

He joined the New Zealand Warriors in 2016 and will play out his final season with the club in 2021. His success in rugby league has included being judged as the best player in the National Rugby League (NRL) when he was awarded the Dally-M Medal in 2018.

‘It has been a dream of mine for a long time to one day play rugby union again, to get this opportunity with New Zealand Rugby, the Blues and Auckland is exciting,’ Tuivasa-Sheck said.  ‘The timing feels right to do this now. That said, I have a big year ahead of me and will turn my attention to this opportunity later in the year.’

New Zealand Rugby general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said Tuivasa-Sheck’s return to rugby is a major coup and would be welcomed by players and fans alike.

‘It’s hugely exciting for everyone in rugby to have Roger back playing rugby union. He is a highly talented athlete who has achieved a huge amount in rugby league, but, equally, has proven himself as a leader on and off the field and an outstanding role model.

‘Roger has some goals he wants to achieve in rugby, and we are thrilled to be able to give him the opportunity to chase those goals.’

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Photo: Tony Feder/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack