Test call up 'dream come true' for Tuivasa-Sheck

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The former NRL Dally-M medal winner, who made 111 appearances for the Warriors, 84 for the Sydney Roosters and 20 Test appearances for the Kiwis, was named on the bench for Saturday's Wellington Test.


Should he make the field, he will complete a circle that began with inspiration from former New Zealand Sevens icon Eric Rush, an early coach for the schoolboy Tuivasa-Sheck in south Auckland.


As a child playing rugby for East Tamaki in south Auckland, he didn't think he would ever be an All Black. But he knew that was what he wanted to be.


"One of my coaches was Eric Rush, who was a legend in the rugby space. He had a barbecue at his house. He lived in Manukau Heights, and I lived in Otara. To go to his place, you had to drive up the hill, and we got to his house - he had a really nice house.


"It was a lot bigger, and a lot cooler, than the house I was living in in Otara, and I just said, 'If this is what it takes, this is what I want for my family, the house that he lives in'. And I've done my best to chase the dream ever since," he said.


Tuivasa-Sheck said Rush, Tuivasa-Sheck's father and the Rush uncles, had been tough coaching all of them.


"They would continue to drill, and drill, into us and make sure we were always putting our best foot forward. Rushie would always tell us he wasn't the most talented kid out there, but he worked and worked his butt off and got to places he never dreamed of.


"That's what stuck with me," he said.



Tuivasa-Sheck said it had been an honour to be included in the match day 23.


His family had booked flights to Wellington after he told them he was in the side, but it was only a continuation of their excitement when included in the squad.


Tuivasa-Sheck said all the pre-game photo shoots with the All Blacks jersey on had already made an impression on him. But he thought walking into the changing room on Saturday and seeing his first jersey, with his All Black number on and his name, would be overwhelming.


Being in the All Blacks camp for the first time, Tuivasa-Sheck said he had been working hard understanding his role, and was constantly checking his notes and working on his Ipad.


But, coach Ian Foster had tapped him and the other newcomers on their shoulders and told them the coaches weren't building robots.


Foster told them, 'We're giving you a guide of how we want to play, but I want you guys to go out and play' he said,


"For me, it was interesting to hear because I just want to make sure I go out there and nail my role and make sure I'm ticking A, B and C. But Fozzy wants us to go out there and play and express ourselves, so that's probably the biggest learning I've been getting over the last two weeks," he said.


Tuivasa-Sheck said moments like Saturday were a dream that had to be cherished. Any competitor wanted to play on the big stages, because there was no better place to prove themselves.


"For me to be in this stage, it's every competitor's dream," he said.



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