Sir John Kirwan: NRL clubs circling for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Dylan Coetzee

All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan is concerned over rugby league offers for newly capped Test centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

The code-hopper made a solid switch to rugby union and starred for the Blues en route to the Super Rugby Pacific final, where they lost to the Crusaders.

Limited opportunity

The centre was given limited minutes in the Rugby Championship and sat behind David Havili and Quinn Tupaea in the All Blacks pecking order.

Anton Lienert-Brown is set to return from a shoulder injury, potentially bouncing Tuivasa-Sheck further from a starting spot.

Kirwan heard a “whisper” that there is a contract from the Sydney Roosters tabled to try to coax the All Black back to rugby league.

“Little whisper is that there is a contract on the table for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck back at the Roosters,” Kirwan told Sky Sport New Zealand’s The Breakdown.

“We’re just running out of time, so I want to see Roger get a decent crack… the northern tour, he probably shouldn’t play against Japan, we need to see him against Scotland or Wales where it’s a big test match…

“What I’ve noticed is that our kicking game, our short kicking game, our manipulative attacking game, has now gone to the foot of 12, so he’s going to have to show us that on the northern tour as well, that kicking game. We know he can step.

“It’s a timing issue, I mean I hope he doesn’t go back to the Roosters, I hope he stays for a few more years yet.”
All Blacks legend Jeff Wilson agreed and worried that time is running out for the talented midfielder.

“That’d be disappointing if that’s the case,” Wilson said.

“I can understand there’d be frustration around this. We certainly haven’t seen the best of him on a rugby field yet because he hasn’t had the opportunity.

“But like you say, time is running out and where do those opportunities lie?”

Shift to the wing?

Meanwhile, All Black World Cup winner, Israel Dagg, believes the best of Tuivasa-Sheck will be found if the star is shifted to the wing due to his aerial prowess.

“I don’t think he stands anywhere in the midfield if I’m completely honest,” said Dagg, who was a former wing and full-back.

“He’s had time there with the Blues, we’ve seen glimpses, but… I’d just love to see him go onto the wing. He is fantastic in the air, which is a huge factor of playing on the wing.

“Defensively, I think he’d be outstanding on the wing. His edge defence would be world class, his talk wouldn’t be a problem and speed and footwork is the biggest asset he offers. When Roger Tuivasa-Sheck came back to New Zealand, that’s the first thing that sprung to my mind – seeing this bloke in open space, breaking ankles left, right and centre. I was like, ‘wow…’ At the moment at 12, he’s not able to do that.”

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