He needed to beat the closure of the trans-Tasman Covid-19 bubble

All Blacks hopeful Roger Tuivasa-Sheck leaves NRL early

New Zealand Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was due to leave the NRL to join the Auckland Blues – and pursue his dream of playing for the All Blacks – at the end of the year, but the NRL star has sent ripples through rugby league by departing his contract early. The move, it is said, is due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The New Zealand government have decided to close the trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand for at least an eight-week period. With the man known to so many as RTS looking at potentially not getting back to New Zealand until much later in the year, he was left with a tough decision. He was overwhelmed with emotion as he told his team-mates on Monday, he said.

“It was tough holding it all back,” says Tuivasa-Sheck, 27, who first started in the NRL with the Roosters at 17 and played 195 games in the NRL.

“I’m pretty sure they were quite disappointed and although they’re supportive that I get to chase a new challenge and dream of mine, it was tough to hold back the tears.

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“It was a really tough decision. I was trying to get my family back over here to Australia to be locked down here for eight weeks (to finish the season). But unfortunately I wasn’t too sure when we were going to return home and that’s when it became an issue.

“It is a sad way to (end) but I’m just grateful to have the club supporting me along the way.”

Tuivasa-Shek has played most of his league at full-back, but back in February, Blues coach Leon MacDonald said: “Our dialogue has been minimal around that type of thing (settling on a position). He gives us versatility. He played schoolboy rugby in midfield, and has been playing his league in the outsides. One of the attractions for us is he is a multi-skilled player and provides options.”

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