Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is the latest NRL star to make a code switch, confirming he is chasing a deal with New Zealand rugby at the end of 2021.
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been with the Warriors since moving from the Roosters in 2016
- Tuivasa-Sheck said a switch to union had “always been there in the background”
- Tuivasa-Sheck is yet to sign with a rugby club
The 27-year-old former Dally M winner has been released from the final year of his contract with the Warriors in 2022, although he is yet to sign a deal with any rugby club.
On Saturday morning, Tuivasa-Sheck said it was a decision he had been contemplating for a while but that the time was right to pursue a career in the 15-man code.
“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, who was named Dally M captain of the year for 2020 after guiding the Warriors through the tribulations of being away from home for the majority of the season, said he was leaving with the full support of the club.
“The club has been supportive of me. I’m really grateful for that. 2021 is my focus. I’m excited for the year. Rugby is down the line and my focus is with the Warriors,” the 2018 Dally M winner said.
“There’s still a lot of goals I’m chasing [in league] and that’s what I’m trying to do this year with the club.
Phil Gould, who was hired as a club-wide consultant for the Warriors, tweeted that Tuivasa-Sheck had been excellent in the off season.
Tuivasa-Sheck, who has made 178 NRL appearances, 94 of them for the Warriors, also thanked his teammates for their support.
“[My teammates] have been awesome,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“It’s tough, because I’ve poured a lot into this club, so hopefully we can finish off on a high.”
Tuivasa-Sheck will be hoping to emulate Sonny Bill Williams, who, as well as winning NRL premierships with the Bulldogs and Roosters, won two Rugby Union World Cups with the All Blacks, although said that any talk of him representing New Zealand was premature.
“I’ve been getting a lot of people saying ‘you’re going to the All Blacks’, but that’s a bit disrespectful to a brand like that, so my whole thing is just to go back and play rugby,” he said.
“You don’t just walk into a brand like the All Blacks.”
The next Rugby World Cup is set to take place in France in 2023, giving Tuivasa-Sheck two seasons to gel into his new code and challenge for a spot in the squad.