Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has confirmed he will leave the New Zealand Warriors to take up rugby in 2022.
The NRL superstar today confirmed reports of his stunning code switch, with the 27-year-old to be released from his Warriors contract at the end of the 2021 NRL season to move to the 15-man game.
He has yet to sign with a franchise, with the Blues understood to be the hot favourites for his signature as he attempts to make the All Blacks ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Tuivasa-Sheck said his desire to move back to rugby has been long held.
"It's always been there. It's no secret. Rugby is a game that I grew up playing ... [It felt like] the right time and to have the club support, that's why I chose to do it now."
Warriors chief executive Cameron George confirmed that the club would release Tuivasa-Sheck from his million-dollar contract in 2022 to allow him to move to rugby at the end of the 2021 campaign.
George said the club had been working with Tuivasa-Sheck on the move for some time, after the Warriors captain came to the decision a few months ago.
"Yesterday the club was able to consider and finalise the terms. As a club we're comfortable with it. Roger deserves this opportunity."
While the All Blacks is the goal, Tuivasa-Sheck knows that there is a hard road ahead.
"There've been people saying that I'm going to the All Blacks but that's a bit disrespectful for a brand like the All Blacks. You don't just walk into the All Blacks."
He also acknowledges the difficulties of leaving a club – and teammates - close to his heart.
"It is tough. I've put a lot into this club and the club has given me a lot too. Hopefully we can finish on a high ... Hopefully [the fans] can support me wherever I go.
"[My teammates] have been awesome and supporting me. I fronted them before. I wish we could've announced it proper and let them know first in a proper way but the boys have been awesome ... I'm all in with them this year.
"This club is special to my heart. I love being here and the family vibe ... I've gotten it off my chest and now I'm ready to [focus on the 2021 season]."