Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's former coach at the New Zealand Warriors says he's certain the NRL superstar has what it takes to crack the All Blacks' squad when he makes his much anticipated switch.
The Test fullback and 2018 Dally M Medal winner dropped a bombshell on the league world in January when he announced he would be leaving the NRL at the end of the 2021 season to chase his dream of playing for the All Blacks.
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Tuivasa-Sheck has made no secret about his ambitions in the 15-a-side code and former Warriors coach Todd Payten is backing the 27-year-old to make an instant impact when he does make the switch.
Payten, who coached the fullback at the Warriors last year, knows how dedicated Tuivasa-Sheck was after his decision to stay and play in Australia due to COVID-19 protocols.
Tuivasa-Sheck has maintained he will have to play the long game and earn his stripes before being picked for the world's best rugby team ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
But Payten told AAP while the star's loss will be huge for the NRL he expects him to be in the All Blacks mix from the start.
"As a rugby league person I'm disappointed that he's not going to be in our game," the now North Queensland coach said.
"But I know Roger and the type of guy and professional he is, I expect him to transition straight to that All Black team and really light the game up."
If Tuivasa-Sheck is successful in his switch, he could emulate Brad Thorn and Sonny Bill Williams as dual Rugby World Cup and NRL premiership winners.
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The former Dally M player of the year inked a two-year deal to head back over the Tasman and join the Auckland Blues beginning in 2022.
He grew up playing both union and league and represented the New Zealand rugby union schoolboys, and captained Otahuhu College at the New Zealand rugby league's secondary schools.
He has since won a premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2013 and amassed 20 caps for his country.
The Warriors captain's cross-code switch has been described as a major coup by New Zealand Rugby Union, but he will have plenty of competition for spots in his country's most famous team.
Payten says he is excited to see him compete.
"He was a rugby kid playing a lot of rugby as a junior, so falling back into that game I don't think it's going to be a problem."
I''m really excited to sit back and watch him."
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