All Blacks scrum-half TJ Perenara is close to signing with the NRL’s Sydney Roosters, according to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
News of a potential switch for Perenara to rugby league after his stint in the Japanese Top League broke a few weeks ago, after it was revealed that his agent was in talks with both New Zealand’s rugby union and the Roosters.
While some assumed talk of a move to the NRL was being used as a negotiation tactic, Roosters prop Waerea-Hargreaves has told the Sydney Morning Herald that the All Black is seriously considering switching codes.
𝙒𝙚𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙅𝙖𝙥𝙖𝙣🇳🇿✈︎🇯🇵
We’re so excited to announce that TJ Perenara, the legendary All Blacks scrum half, will be joining Japan Rugby Top League with NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 👏
— Japan Rugby (@JRFURugby) October 19, 2020
The Roosters prop was speaking to Perenara’s former All Blacks teammate Sonny Bill Williams, who believes the New Zealander is keen to try his hand at rugby league.
“I spoke with Sonny and he reckons he’s good mates with TJ. He’s close [to signing],” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“We are obviously super keen. We’d love to have a guy of his calibre definitely amongst our squad, especially now with the injuries.
“There are such talented players doing it for so long in rugby union, but you want to see that talent come and give it a crack over here for sure. They’ve been doing it for a long time in rugby union so they should come on over.”
Bucking the trend.
Plenty of big-name players have made the switch from rugby league to rugby union – with the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Folau and Jason Robinson all starting off in league before playing the 15-man game.
The opposite rarely happens, however, as the salaries in rugby union are often higher than what their league counterparts can offer.
Should Perenara make the switch it would come as a major surprise, as well as a significant set back for the All Blacks, who had expected the scrum-half to return to New Zealand after his stint in Japan.
Fellow All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick are also playing in the Japanese Top League but will be available for all of New Zealand’s test matches this year.