December 10, 2023

Warriors not pushing for Tuivasa-Sheck return after missing All Blacks squad

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Ian Foster.

Even after missing out on All Blacks selection earlier this week, NZ Warriors are not pushing for an early rugby league return for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

On Sunday, the 30-year-old was a glaring omission from Ian Foster’s first All Blacks squad of 2023, not named in the 36-strong group for this year’s Rugby Championship.

Since announcing his return to the NRL next year, Tuivasa-Sheck has struggled for game time in the 15-man code, and spent the end of the Blues’ Super Rugby season sitting in the stands – unused in the matchday 23 entirely by coach Leon MacDonald.

Sources within New Zealand Rugby have told Newshub last month said there was no push from Tuivasa-Sheck to seek an early release from his contract with the national union.

And even with his All Blacks prospects shrinking, Warriors coach Andrew Webster says there has been no movement on their end to reunite with their former captain ahead of schedule. 

“Honestly, I have not mentioned that to anyone that Roger will be coming,” said Webster. “No one’s even mentioned that to me.

“Barring people in the public and media, I haven’t heard it from anywhere internally.

“We certainly have not spoken to Roger about that.”

Should Tuivasa-Sheck return to rugby league as scheduled in 2024, the former Dally M winner will face a difficult task in getting back into shape for the rigours of the NRL.

The differing physical requirements of rugby league compared to union are arguably one of the biggest hurdles for a player to overcome when switching codes.

However, boasting nearly a decade of experience in the NRL with both the Warriors and Sydney Roosters, Webster is confident Tuivasa-Sheck won’t have difficulty in readjusting. 

“Roger’s always fit,” he continued. “I think he’s fit in everything he does.

“Positionally, for rugby union, he’s made some adjustments to his body. But knowing Roger, he’s made that adjustment very fast.

“I haven’t looked at his skinfolds or his bodyweight, [but] he looks very solid and fit to me at the moment.

“I don’t know how they’d relate. I’m thinking about Roger for next year, not Roger for now.

“I just want Roger to be happy for the rest of the year. So long as he’s happy, I’m happy.”

Tuivasa-Sheck could conceivably still be called into the All Blacks when their 36-man Rugby Championship squad is cut to 33 players for this year’s World Cup in France.

However, with the likes of Dallas McLeod of the Crusaders called up ahead of him, Tuivasa-Sheck would be considered on the outer for All Blacks selection. 

Australian outlet Fox Sports, though, have tipped Tuivasa-Sheck to return to the Roosters on a short term contract. 

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