Departing NZ Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's future is up in the air, after confirmation he'll head home this week.
On Monday, the club announced Tuivasa-Sheck had been granted an early release from his contract, and Newshub understands he'll end up playing rugby union earlier than anticipated.
Tuivasa-Sheck will meet with Auckland Rugby officials shortly after his return to New Zealand on Thursday to plan his immediate playing future.
It's believed the 28-year-old was initially expected to play only four games maximum in the National Provincial Championship, but could now suit-up for a full season.
Tuivasa-Sheck could potentially play 10 round robin games plus finals, should Auckland go all the way. He'll likely be available for their opening game against Canterbury on August 8.
Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry says the Auckland selectors should waste no time promoting him into the playing squad, but has urged patience regarding an All Blacks berth for the end of year tour.
"I don't think they'll be thinking that far ahead," Sir Graham tells Newshub.
"I think they'll be thinking about the Blues and next season with the Blues and see how we go from there, but I wouldn't put that sort of pressure on him."
When it comes to selecting a union convert to the All Blacks straight out of provincial rugby, Sir Graham has some unique insight, having picked Sonny Bill Williams for an end of year tour after just a handful of games for Canterbury.
"[All Blacks selection for end of year tour] is probably a long shot," he admits. "I wouldn't be putting that sort of pressure on him.
Newshub understands a lack of MIQ spots and the Warriors essentially being out of finals contention are the reasons for Tuivasa-Sheck coming home rather than any ambition to chase a spot on the end of year tour.
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