All Blacks World Cup winger Caleb Clarke has been training with the NRL’s Rabbitohs in a bid to sharpen his skills ahead of Super Rugby.
Clarke, who played twice at the RWC in France, is spending a few days with the NRL club and decalred he would be keen on a code switch in the future.
Australia lost star winger Mark Nawaqanitawase to the Roosters for 2025 after the NRL said it would make the transition from players form union to league easier with salary cap releif.
“Everything is so much quicker here,” Clarke told NZ news site Newshub. “I feel like it would help when it comes to the rugby field, especially for backs.
“When the aerial game comes into play that’s where it helps me.”
He confirmed he would like to give league a try in the future.
“That would be an actual dream come true,” he said. “That’s one of those life goals.
“I’m still pinching myself. I saw John Sutton and he’s one of the players I grew up watching, and to be able to be out there on the field while he was coaching was just something I could never dream of.
“It’d be a dream to play league. Hopefully I still have time do it.
“I’m young now, so hopefully these legs can still carry me.”
TJ ready for the battle within
TJ Perenara has his sights set on a return to the Test team in 2024 – but he’ll face some serious competition close to home.
The veteran of 80 Tests has not played since suffering the potentially career-ending injury at Twickenham in November last year in a 25-all draw with England.
“It wasn’t painful,” the 31-year-old said Tuesday after training with the Wellington Hurricanes, remembering the moment.
“I tried to charge down a kick and I thought someone had kicked me in the back of the leg.
“I turned around and (team-mate) Hoskins Sotutu was there. I had a go at him and he said, ‘I didn’t touch you’. Then I knew from stories of people tearing theirs (Achilles).”
“The mental challenge was probably harder. Nothing prepares you for that,” Perenara said.
“You get taken out of playing for the All Blacks at Twickenham on the biggest stage to rehabbing for what will, hopefully, be 14 months by the time I get back,” he added.
A setback earlier this year meant a second operation, ruling Perenara out of the World Cup.
He had to watch like a fan as New Zealand went down 12-11 to South Africa in the nail-biting October final.
Perenara is enjoying training again, including putting in extra sessions to aid his recovery.
“I’m feeling like a rugby player again — being out on the field and being able to have an impact.”
He is not yet able to explode into a sprint off his left ankle, something he hopes to do in early January.
“Playing’s a big one. Getting back on the field and playing good footy,” Perenara said.
“I set my goals broad for a year, then I narrow them down to my short-term goals. For me now, my short-term goal is literally just to get back and do full-team training. When I come to that point and I’m team training and looking to start playing again, those goals start to adapt.
“To be an All Black you have to play good rugby. You have to be out on the field, you have to be having an impact on your team, and winning really helps too. All those elements will be a part of those goals and those standards.”
He will have to share time with Cam Roigard, who emerged in his absence to make the RWC squad behind Aaron Smith and Finlay Christie.
“Cam and I, I think we have a very unique opportunity to be the best two nines in the country at one club, and have to have our dynamic working together. Whatever that looks like out on the field, I think is going to be important for us winning this competition,” Perenara said.
“I think a lot of people and a lot of media might try to shape this as a competitive thing against each other in a negative way. It will be competitive, both of us want to play big minutes, which is a good thing, but both of us also want the other person to be playing really well too. That’s only healthy for us, for our club, to hopefully win this competition and go forward into different teams as well.
“If we can continue to grow and be the best two nines in the country, we’ll give ourselves a really good opportunity to play together later in the year as well.”
World Cup’s big dream
Twickenham Stadium will host the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup final while the opening game will be staged at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, World Rugby and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have announced.
The 82,000-capacity Twickenham Stadium set a world attendance record for a women’s international in April when 58,498 spectators turned out to see England win their 19th Women’s Six Nations Championship title by beating France.
Organisers hope the World Cup finale in London on September 27 will break that record.
England will kick off the 16-team tournament on August 22 at the Stadium of Light.
“Women’s Rugby World Cup England 2025 will be a generational moment for rugby,” World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said.
“The biggest, most accessible and most widely-viewed, its unstoppable momentum will reach, engage and inspire new audiences in ways that rugby events have not done before.”