Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is set to make the switch from rugby league to union in a much-awaited debut season for the Blues.
Tuivasa-Sheck shot to fame in the NRL through his hard running and vicious sidestep. Fans will be eagerly awaiting how the 28-year-old will fare in the 15-man game.
Has what it takes
Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes that Tuivasa-Sheck has what it takes to reach the highest level and ultimately challenge for a place in All Blacks coach Ian Foster’s squad.
“He’s a superb athlete, and he’s not coming in 100 per cent cold, is he?” Hansen told Newstalk ZB. “He played for New Zealand schoolboys so he’s played the game before, he’s got an understanding of it, so you could say he’s returning to rugby.
“He’s got every chance in the world, I think, because of his natural talent, because of the fact that he understands the game already – albeit at a lower level – he’s got a great mentor in Leon Macdonald up there, he’s doing a fantastic job, so I think he’s got a real chance.
“If he plays well, why wouldn’t Fozzy and his team be excited about having him? He’s an athlete and a half.”
In league, Tuivasa-Sheck played wing or full-back and there has been a question around what position would suit the dynamic player. Blues coach Leon MacDonald sees his best fit at inside centre, having played there in high school.
The pathway to the All Blacks is complicated in the midfield as there is strength in numbers. Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili, Jack Goodhue, Quinn Tupaea and Braydon Ennor are just a few that stand in the way.
The code-hopper’s much-anticipated debut will have to wait an extra week after the Blues clash with Moana Pasifika was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the newcomers’ squad.