23.2 C
Brunei
Thursday, August 18, 2022
23.2 C
Brunei
Thursday, August 18, 2022
More
    - Advertisement -
    - Advertisement -

    Former rugby league star Tuivasa-Sheck poised for All Blacks debut

    WELLINGTON (AFP) – Cross-code jumper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said his promotion to New Zealand’s starting team “is a dream” as he prepares to make an unexpected All Blacks debut in the cauldron of a series-deciding Test against Ireland.

    The former New Zealand rugby league (NRL) captain is among the replacements for today’s third Test in Wellington – an unforeseen selection given that it has been less than a year since his headline-grabbing exit from the 13-man code.

    Coach Ian Foster reacted to the high stakes Test by naming the most experienced New Zealand starting team since their 2015 World Cup final triumph, boasting 880 combined caps.

    Yet Foster found room in his squad for 29-year-old rookie Tuivasa-Sheck, a player regarded as a potential candidate to shine at next year’s global tournament.

    The fast feet and acceleration of Tuivasa-Sheck lit up Australia’s National Rugby League for a decade before he made the call to pursue his rugby union goal and play for the All Blacks.

    However, even he appeared surprised by this week’s promotion.

    “You’ve got to cherish these opportunities – that’s how I see it,” he said.

    New Zealand’s Roger Tuivasa-Sheck trains during New Zealand’s captains run at Sky Stadium in Wellington. PHOTO: AFP

    “This is a dream. As a competitor or an athlete you want to play on these big stages and if you want to tell yourself ‘I want to be the best in the world’, these are the stages where you get to prove that.”

    The former schoolboy rugby star impressed Foster during his debut Super Rugby Pacific season with the Auckland Blues and he’s risen further in the coach’s estimation on the back of three weeks of training.

    “It’s actually a reward for his effort off the park. Roger settled in well, he’s a learner,” Foster said.

    “It’s a big occasion for him but… he’s an experienced player, he knows about the big stages and he knows you don’t just go there and try to overplay your hand.”

    Tuivasa-Sheck played 20 rugby league Tests for the Kiwis and experienced an NRL grand final triumph with the Sydney Roosters.

    He later moved to the Auckland-based New Zealand Warriors, where he was crowned the NRL’s best player in 2018.

    The Samoan-born speedster is set to become the third All Blacks Test player to have previously represented the Kiwis.

    The most recent was another midfield attacking weapon, Sonny Bill Williams.

    Tuivasa-Sheck was impressed by the intensity within the New Zealand camp this week as they seek to rebound from last week’s loss to Ireland in Dunedin and clinch the series.

    “I think we get over it quite quickly because this whole organisation is just a well-oiled machine and they’re ready to just get better and figure out what’s next,” he said.

    - Advertisement -
    spot_img

    Latest article

    - Advertisement -
    spot_img