Returning All Black TJ Perenara has revealed he had a third option on the table that would’ve allowed him to swap codes between seasons. before he ultimately re-signed with New Zealand Rugby.
Perenara confirmed last night he has decided to stick to rugby union and a deal with NZR and the Hurricanes that goes through until 2023, ending his chance to swap codes and play NRL with the Sydney Roosters.
However, Perenara revealed on a podcast he had a third option from an unnamed Japanese code which could’ve let him enjoy both codes had he signed.
"We were at a stage at one point where we might have even been leaning more towards going to league and coming back to Japan as a dual sort of deal than we were [to] coming home," Perenara told What A Lad podcast.
"I would have finished here [Japan], gone and done my isolation in Sydney, and joined the team for the back end of the year.
"We fell into a couple of complications with insurance... [but] that wasn't the deciding factor.
"I spoke with people in the Roosters environment. If we'd decided to do it, we would have found a way to make the insurance side of it work too."
Perenara added he’d been in regular talks with Roosters coach Trent Robinson ahead of his decision and informed him personally once he decided to remain in rugby union.
"I spoke with Trent yesterday about it. He was in full support of either decision I made.
“He understood the reasons for coming, if I came, and the reasons if I didn't. It's been really good to work with him on that level.”
Perenara’s return will see him re-join the Hurricanes next season for the next two years after enjoying a short stint with Japanese side NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes this year.
However, the break in Japan means the 29-year-old won’t be able available for the All Blacks this season due to selection rules.
"I think the rules are you have to play in the New Zealand competition, professional competition, to be eligible - unless you have it written into your contract,” Perenara explained.
"I didn't have a contract to come back to, so I didn't write that into anything.
"I have to play in a competition before being eligible for the All Blacks. If I do come in as injury cover, I guess it might [change], but if not, I don't think so."
Regardless, Perenara said he’s returning to New Zealand refreshed and ready to push his case with All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
"It's always been my goal and now being back in New Zealand rugby, it continues to be my goal.
"I love competing at the highest level and with some of the best players in the world. We've got some really good nines in New Zealand and I'm really looking forward to that competition, and to continue to try and be better.
"Starting for the All Blacks is my massive goal. It's my dream and it's what I want to do, but I'm also really excited about that process too."