‘Could be better than all of us’: Dual international’s bold Suaali’i rugby call

Dual international Lote Tuqiri believes Joseph Suaali’i “could be better” than all of the other rugby league converts that came before him.

Suaali’i will make the immediate switch to rugby union following the 2024 NRL season after inking a three-year deal said to be worth a total of $5 million.

The 20-year-old is following in the footsteps of Tuqiri as well as the likes of Israel Folau and Sonny Billy Williams.

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Tuqiri, who played 67 games for the Wallabies, made the bold call that Suaali’i could be the best convert we’ve seen.

“He could get to Israel Folau status,” Tuqiri toldThe Sydney Morning Herald.

“He probably could be better. He could be better than all of us rugby league converts. Joseph Suaalii could be a force to be reckoned with.”

It comes after new Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh teased that Suaali’i could be parachuted into an Australian jersey for the Wallabies’ spring tour of England and Ireland.

Depending how the Roosters’ season pans out, that could be just weeks after Suaali’i plays in an NRL finals series.

Tuqiri admitted “there would be a chance” of player unrest if that does happen but believes players will mostly be on board given the calibre of player Suaali’i is

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“I actually feel a bit sorry for the kid. He’s just doing the best for himself.

“There always will be a bit of conjecture. On the whole, if you play in a team environment, you want success and the best players.

“He’s not going back to rugby because he’s a dud. I think the players will get around it.

“I think there was a little bit (conjecture) when I was coming through … and I get that because guys have been playing rugby their whole life. You’ve just got to be good enough.

“At the end of the day, we weren’t good enough (at the World Cup). We picked blokes to go to the World Cup who we thought were good enough but weren’t. That quality was terrible.

“You’d be silly not to take him.

“They’ve made a big investment. He’s been playing at a high level with the Roosters. I think you try and fast-track him in.

“Whether he plays or not is another question. What we saw in the World Cup is not having enough experience. I think just being away with blokes will stand him in good stead going into 2025.”

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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