All Blacks centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is set to make his long-awaited debut for Auckland in a National Provincial Championship (NPC) encounter against Bay of Plenty at Eden Park on Sunday.
The 29-year-old was one of 14 members of New Zealand’s Rugby Championship squad who were released to represent their provinces after the All Blacks’ 35-23 victory over the Springboks in Johannesburg last weekend.
NPC debut put on hold
Tuivasa-Sheck made the switch from rugby league last year and was training with Auckland’s provincial side with the hope of featuring in last year’s NPC. They were scheduled to face Bay of Plenty in August 2021 but those plans were thwarted when Auckland went into a Covid-19 lockdown.
There was no further club rugby action for that year which meant Tuivasa-Sheck had to wait until this year to make his senior debut in the 15-man code. He eventually did that during the Blues‘ Super Rugby campaign earlier this year and impressed in that tournament, with his fine form earning him a call-up to the All Blacks squad.
10 NPC teams will have members of the All Blacks squad available to play for them in their round three matches this weekend.
Aidan Ross will be available for Bay of Plenty. Apart from Auckland’s clash with Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau will host Waikato in Pukekohe on Friday while Taranaki, Wellington, North Harbour, Southland and Manawatu are at home in their respective fixtures against Canterbury, Northland, Tasman, Otago and Hawke’s Bay on Saturday and Sunday.
The other teams with their All Blacks are as follows:
Counties Manukau: Nepo Laulala, Dalton Papalii, Hoskins Sotutu; Taranaki: Stephen Perofeta; Canterbury: Braydon Ennor; Wellington: Dane Coles; Northland: Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Jack Goodhue; Tasman: Leicester Fainga’anuku, Sevu Reece; Otago: Josh Dickson; Hawke’s Bay: Folau Fakatava