Rugby: Sir Graham Lowe, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck talk up TJ Perenara's reported rugby league switch

All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara is backed to succeed in a potential switch to rugby league, after reports he's negotiating with Sydney Roosters.

Perenara, 29, is off-contract with NZ Rugby at the end of 2021, fuelling speculation he could look elsewhere for a new deal, rather than re-sign.

According to TVNZ, Perenara has been approached by the Roosters, but is also considering other rugby offers.

The 66-test halfback is no stranger to rugby league. Father Thomas represented New Zealand at youth level, while cousin Henry Perenara is a current NRL referee and former Kiwis international.

Perenara was also offered a contract by Melbourne Storm at age 15, but chose not to sign, TVNZ reports.

According to former NZ Kiwis coach Sir Graham Lowe, sealing Perenara's signature could be a masterstroke by the Sydney club.

"I think it's fantastic for TJ Perenara," Sir Graham tells Newshub. "The Perenaras are rugby league royalty - or just footy royalty. If you talk to any of them, they just know what they're talking about, they understand both games really well.

"But I think, for TJ Perenara, it would be fantastic. He's a durable player, he's good with the ball and he can run at the line.

"He hasn't got a lot of years left in him, but he'd be great at the Roosters for a couple of years."

As for what attributes Perenara would bring to rugby league, Sir Graham has no shortage of praise for the Rugby World Cup winner.

Perenara could conceivably play hooker for the Roosters, filling the void left by Jake Friend’s retirement earlier this month.

"He's durable, and good with a draw and pass - very good with the ball in hand, draw and pass,” says Lowe. "All the requirements you look for, particularly if you were looking at him for a hooker, or even halfback. 

"He's an international player with an x-factor. He'll be able to make it, whatever he does."

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is preparing to cross the other way - from league to rugby - next season, but sees Perenara as a natural fit for the 13-a-side game.

"You can't fault class and TJ is class," Tuivasa-Sheck says. "I think, no matter where he goes, he'll do well. 

“I know he's doing well in Japan. You can't fault class and wherever he goes, I'll support that he'll do well.

"He's a tough player, he's built tough. It's a different type of game, [but] I think - like anything - if he learns the technique, how to wrestle and all that, he'll be good technically and I think he's a fit enough player to be in the game for long.

"It'll be different for him, but like I said, he's a classy player. He'll learn and do whatever he needs to work for him."

Hurricanes and All Blacks teammate Ngani Laumape is another to endorse Perenara in league, after successfully leaving NZ Warriors for rugby in 2016.

"If this is real news, he would be the best hooker in the [competition]," Laumape tweets.

"The man smashes forwards in rugby and imagine his left foot out of dummy half, kicking them 40/20."

Perenara's Super rugby franchise - the Hurricanes - insist they're still keen to re-sign the halfback, telling Newshub: "We are in discussions with TJ and his manager, and hope he'll be back at the Hurricanes in 2022."

Perenara is currently playing in Japan with NTT Red Hurricanes, with the Top League season finishing on May 23. 

The All Blacks halfback could seek an early release and join the Roosters roster by the NRL deadline of August 2.