WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks scrumhalf T.J. Perenara says he hasn’t yet decided whether he will switch from rugby to rugby league next year but added if he doesn’t do so now he likely never will.
Perenara confirmed in a video news conference from Japan on Tuesday he is considering an offer to join the Sydney Roosters in Australia’s National Rugby League and has spoken with Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
The 29-year-old veteran of 69 All Blacks matches told reporters he has made “no decision yet” on the Roosters’ offer and is still discussing options with his wife and management. He has also spoken the Wellington-based Hurricanes who are eager to re-sign him in Super Rugby.
Perenara is currently playing for the NTT Red Hurricanes in the Japan Top League under a sabbatical arrangement with New Zealand Rugby. He spoke Tuesday alongside fellow Japan-based All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick.
Perenara said he had a “genuine” interest in playing rugby league and likely will not be able to do so if he doesn’t take the opportunity now.
“If I don’t make a decision and be part of an organization this year, I don’t know if I will do it again,” he said. “It will be a commitment one way or the other.
“Committing to New Zealand Rugby, to home and the (Wellington) Hurricanes will take league off the table for my career.”
Barrett, who plays at flyhalf for Suntory Sungoliath, said he hopes to play in that position when he rejoins the All Blacks for July tests against Italy and Fiji. The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year played mostly at fullback last year as the All Blacks employed a two-playmaker system with Richie Mo'unga at flyhalf.
“I’ve got no doubt I wasn’t the best out-and-out No. 15 for the All Blacks, especially with (Jordie Barrett) and (Damian McKenzie) around last year,” Barrett said. “But the way we wanted to play I could understand that and I bought into that.
“Going forward, there’s no hiding from the fact that Damian and Jordie and Will (Jordan) are all playing great rugby. But regardless of that I’m really enjoying my time playing No. 10 here at Suntory. It’s given me that burning desire to be better than what I have been before in the All Blacks No. 10 jersey.”
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