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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck offloads for the Blues.
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'It was a massive move. He's got that offload game akin to Sonny Bill Williams'
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s transfer to union was discussed on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra.

THE BLUES HAVE suffered an injury setback early in their Super Rugby Pacific campaign with confirmation that new rugby league convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be sidelined for several weeks with a shoulder issue.

The 28-year-old moved into rugby union ahead of the new season after being a major star in rugby league, playing for the Roosters, Warriors, and New Zealand.

Playing in the number 12 shirt for the Blues, Tuivasa-Sheck had made a promising start to life in pro rugby, as discussed by Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra - one of the two podcasts available exclusively to members of The42 every week.

Today’s edition also saw Eoin and Murray discuss Johnny Sexton’s new contract, give an in-depth analysis of England, and then turn their attention towards all the latest events in Super Rugby.

A native of Samoa, Tuivasa-Sheck is seen as a strong contender to line out in midfield for the All Blacks at next year’s World Cup.

So far, he has only a game-and-a-half of rugby union under his belt, but there are big expectations for the centre. The Blues – who now have Joe Schmidt in their coaching team – will hope to have him back in action as soon as possible, having made such a stir with his signing from the NRL last year.

Sydney-based Eoin, who has worked as a performance analyst with Ireland and the Melbourne Rebels as well as coaching in Japan, understands why there has been such hype.

rugby-apr-18-nrl-rd-6-dragons-v-warriors Speed Media RTS is a brilliant league player. Speed Media

Murray: “I’m gutted that Tuivasa-Sheck is injured so early in his transfer across from league. Tell us about this move – he’s a brilliant league player so how big a move was it and what have you seen early on that suggests he could make it a success?”

Eoin: “It was a massive move. It definitely took the attention on this side of the world. It doesn’t happen too often that league players at the peak of their game make that shift to rugby union. He is obviously highly thought of.

“I thought some of the footwork and power he showed in contact – a lot of the Blues’ starter plays revolved around him generating go-forward and he demonstrates a huge amount of power.

“He’s got that offload game, very akin to Sonny Bill Williams in that he has the ability to win the contact and get his arms free and bring other players into the game. That’s a huge strength.

“For me, a big question mark around New Zealand rugby at the moment is who is the incumbent 12 for the All Blacks? I think they really, really miss a focal point from a power perspective.

“They had the luxury of Ma’a Nonu for so many years, they had Sonny Bill Williams in that role where he was the go-to player who could give you gainline, bring other players into the game, and be a real concern for opposition defences.

“I don’t think New Zealand have that at the moment. Potentially, Tuivasa-Sheck could be moulded into that 12 jersey pretty quickly.

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super-rugby-blues-hurricanes AAP / PA Images The 28-year-old is now sidelined with a shoulder injury. AAP / PA Images / PA Images

“Ngani Laumape is over in France, another powerful player that has been lost to the system.

“New Zealand are struggling to replace those types of players at the moment and it’s definitely a concern for them not to have that focal point in midfield to give them punch.”

Murray: “It’s really interesting to see what happens with Tuivasa-Sheck. He’s out for a few weeks at least but he has looked pretty impressive in those first two games.

“He had a missed tackle for the Hurricanes’ winning try the weekend before but he looks like he could be a real success so fingers crossed we see him back soon.”

Today’s edition of Rugby Weekly Extra also involved the lads discussing Ireland’s breakdown work, the key figures in England’s team, how Eddie Jones is looking to change the English attack, Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe’s ban, James O’Connor’s qualities for the Reds, David Pocock’s political career, and much more. 

This all follows on from Monday’s pod for members of The42 in which Bernard Jackman, Gavan Casey, and Murray broke down all the big talking points from last weekend’s provincial action and looked ahead to Twickenham.

To get access to the two rugby podcasts, you can sign up as a member of The42 here.

Membership also includes a wide range of other pods on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as weekly newsletters, and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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