Sonny Bill Williams backs Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as a wing for All Blacks transition

Sonny Bill Williams, pictured scoring for the All Blacks in a Bledisloe Cup match, won two Rugby World Cup titles and NRL rugby league grand finals. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

Dual code great Sonny Bill Williams has backed Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to make a successful transition to rugby union, saying the move is a “shot in the arm” for the code in Australia.

Tuivasa-Sheck made his code switch ahead of schedule this week amid concerns around the trans-Tasman travel bubble, ending a wildly successful NRL career which saw him make 195 appearances and score 58 tries for both the Sydney Roosters and NZ Warriors between 2012 and 2021.

Williams, who was teammates with Tuivasa-Sheck on the Roosters’ 2013 premiership-winning side, backed his countryman to eventually crack the All Blacks.

“I think he’ll play wing in the early stages of his transition,” he said on Nine’s NRL coverage.

“For me, it’s not a case of will he make it to the All Blacks or will he thrive in the game of 15, it’s a question of how long it’ll take.

“We’ve got to remember that he grew up as a rugby player and league boys poached him from the game of rugby and brought him across, so he shouldn’t have too much problems transitioning back.

“The biggest thing for rugby-loving people in Australia is it’s the shot in the arm that Australian rugby union needs right now.”

Williams said he admired Tuivasa-Sheck’s humility despite his tremendous success which has seen him rise to the top of rugby league.

“For me, what he represents, obviously we see his feats on the field and it’s amazing he can do things that no other player can do, but what I love about him is just him as a man, the person,” he said.

“He is humble and he’s kept that hard-working approach all throughout his career.

“What Roger also represents is he is a boy from South Auckland, a predominantly low-income area, and he’s made it. He’s thrived on the biggest stage so a lot of young guys who come from that similar background see him as an inspiration.”


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