Former NRL Dally M winner, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be teaming up with former World Rugby player of the year Beauden Barrett. Never before has a two time World Rugby player of the year combined to play alongside a Dally M winner.
Rugby league and rugby union have had many cross-code stars over the years. Sonny Bill Williams, Semi Radradra, Jason Robinson, Ben Te’o, Sam Burgess all started their professional careers in the 13-man code, before switching to rugby union and having varying degrees of success in their union careers.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck a former Dally M winner (awarded to the most valuable player of a calendar season in the NRL) is making the switch to Rugby Union with the Auckland Blues. Two other players have switched to union after being awarded the Dally M, Ben Barba (2012) with Toulon and Jarryd Hayne (2014, 2009) with Fiji 7s. Both Barba and Hayne did not have successful code changes to Rugby Union. Will Tuivasa-Sheck be any different?
Early suggestions from Blues coach Leon McDonald indicate Tuivasa-Sheck will be utilised at inside centre. Potentially forming a formidable partnership with world class fly half Beauden Barrett. Barrett is one of only two players to ever win the World Rugby player of the year award back to back (2016 and 2017). Barrett’s form, while being solid, has not quite reached those heights in recent seasons.
Nevertheless, if Barrett can rediscover his best form and Tuivasa-Sheck can make a seamless transition to the 15 man code, a formidable partnership may be on the horizon. Throw former World Rugby breakthrough player of the year Rieko Ioane in the mix alongside All Black wing Caleb Clarke and on paper at least this Blues backline is dangerous.
This year’s Super Rugby season is yet to begin therefore it is still to early to judge. However purely based on previous accolades, this Blues backline is shaping up to be one rugby fans will want to keep a close eye on this coming season.