Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is hoping to display the attacking skills honed by England head coach Steve McNamara when the New Zealand Test series gets underway in Hull this weekend.
Tuivasa-Sheck burst onto the international scene in the 2013 World Cup in England and Wales as a flying winger with eight tries in six appearances but has this year completed a seamless transition to fullback as the successor to Anthony Minichiello at Sydney Roosters.
And the 22-year-old said McNamara has played a key role in the switch in his capacity as attack coach of the Roosters, the job he combines with that of England boss.
“He’s a good dude and I can’t wait to play against his boys and see what he has for us,” said Tuivasa-Sheck, who is moving to the Warriors for the start of the 2016 season as the replacement for the departed Sam Tomkins.
“This year I feel like I’ve progressed really well – I feel I own the fullback role now- and a lot of that is down to Steve, who’s our attack coach at the Sydney Roosters.
“He’s helped me so much week in, week out, giving me tips on how I can improve my game and helping me on ways of attacking. I play a major role in getting into the line and having the ball in my hands and he’s been helping me a lot in that.”
McNamara, who is staying at the Roosters after signing a new two-year contract, admits Tuivasa-Sheck will be one of the main threats in the first Test at the KC Stadium on Sunday evening but insists he is not the only one.
“We all know New Zealand are a big, powerful team and that Issac Luke is a world-class hooker and Roger is really dangerous out the back,” McNamara said.
“Roger made his debut the season before I arrived and he was on the wing against us in the World Cup semi-final. He broke his leg at Wembley in that game, played in the final but came off after two minutes.
“But he’s had a sensational year in his first year at full-back and he’ll be a threat.
“He’s a great bloke as well to be honest, really well balanced, but as with everybody there are things he’s better at and things he’s not so good at but it’s not just about Roger, we’re playing against a really good team at the weekend.
“We’re collectively going to have to be very good across the park, we’re all going to have to play close to our best to get us across the line.”
McNamara seems likely to recall Tomkins after recovering from the knee injury that forced him to miss last Saturday’s 84-4 win over France and that will delight his successor at the Warriors, Tuivasa-Sheck, who has been admirer of the Wigan fullback who ended a disappointing two-year stint in Auckland at the end of the NRL season.
“He’s a great player, I like watching him play,” Tuivasa-Sheck said. “He could have done more at the Warriors but for a few injuries that got to him.
“He was unlucky but to come over and play how he has, he should be proud of the way he played.”