Rugby-All Black Perenara confirms interest in league switch


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool B - New Zealand v Namibia - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - October 6, 2019 New Zealand's TJ Perenara in action with Namibia's Helarius Kisting REUTERS/Matthew Childs

SYDNEY (Reuters) - All Blacks scrumhalf TJ Perenara has confirmed his interest in making a switch to rugby league after an approach from National Rugby League (NRL) club the Sydney Roosters.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson approached the 69-cap New Zealand international's management about the possibility of a stint in the 13-man code earlier this month.

"(The interest is) definitely genuine from both parties," Perenara told stuff.co.nz on Tuesday.

"It's something that would be a challenge but it's something that I've thought about throughout the course of my career. I played league when I was a little bit younger (and) I've often thought about it."

Sonny Bill Williams alternated two stints at the Roosters with winning Rugby World Cups in the All Blacks team, playing as a forward in league and a back in union.

Perenara, 29, would probably play as a hooker in league, a position where the Roosters have a vacancy after losing stalwart Jake Friend to retirement this month.

"I feel the game for a hooker suits the style of game I like to play, even knowing that there will be more tackles in league," Perenara added from Japan, where he is playing for NTT Red Hurricanes.

"There's no decision yet. There's a few options on the table but I haven't made a decision."

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, a close friend of Robinson who worked as a consultant for the Roosters last year, said last week he thought Perenara had the tools to succeed in league.

"He has a great running game. He is physical with it. He can kick and he can distribute with all type of pressure on him," Cheika told The Australian newspaper.

"The other thing you see pretty clearly is that he is obviously really well respected ... because he is called on to lead the haka. That is a pretty big deal over there."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ed Osmond)

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