Tepai Moeroa's trip to New Zealand, when he makes his NRL debut for Parramatta tonight, will be a brief one.
However, there are moves afoot to ensure he spends more time across the ditch as Super Rugby powerhouse the Chiefs attempt to lure him back to the 15-man code.
Moeroa has been compared with cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams and is being courted by the Chiefs and Waratahs with a view to snapping him up when his Eels contract expires next year.
Not only is the teenager an Australian Schoolboys rugby representative, Moeroa is also a national shotput champion. Despite being unable to train this year because of his Parramatta commitments, Moeroa holds many state-age shotput records and is ranked third in Australia for under 20s.
The Newington College product was also selected to play Origin for NSW in the 16s and 18s age groups but had to withdraw because of his rugby commitments.
But when the Warriors host the Eels at Mt Smart Stadium tonight, league fans will get a chance to see what all the fuss is about. The 101-kilogram, 188-centimetre forward will get to test himself against an in-form Warriors pack despite not being named in Brad Arthur's original team.
If you Google his name, one of the first hits is a YouTube compilation of breaks, offloads, tries and big hits that has made both rugby codes take notice.
Chosen to represent the Australian schools tour of Fiji and New Zealand as a 16-year-old, the inside centre helped Australia to only its second win against New Zealand schools on Kiwi soil. It was also the first team to defeat Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa in the same year.
Moeroa's selection is another change to an Eels team that will again feature Chris Sandow at fullback after NSW star Jarryd Hayne was rested. The Eels are two wins off top spot on the NRL ladder but sit outside the eight due to points differential.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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