According to reports, NRL team Melbourne Storm have sealed the signing of William Warbrick, who shone for the All Blacks in their run to the Olympic final in Tokyo.
It marks a defection from rugby union to rugby league for the 23-year-old Olympic star, who debuted for the New Zealand rugby sevens team in 2019.
Standing at 194cm and weighing in at over 100kg, the New Zealand winger has been drafted in as a direct replacement for the departed Josh Addo-Carr, who recently secured a move to the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The move has yet to be officially announced by neither the player nor the club at the time of writing, however, several New Zealand sources have reported that it is a done deal. Additionally, Warbrick recently posted a tribute to New Zealand rugby on his social media channels, which many believe contains hints that he is ready to move on to a new challenge.
William Warbrick is a 23 year old rugby union player from Kawerau, New Zealand, who stands at 194cm tall, weighs around 100kg and plays as a winger
He came onto the radar of most avid rugby union fans when he first represented the New Zealand rugby sevens national team back in 2019.
He was the stand-out star in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, helping the All Blacks to reach the rugby sevens final, which they ultimately lost to New Zealand.
Warbrick has already played in the AFL New Zealand premiership and is reportedly keen on a move back to the 13 man game for a number of reasons. Alongside professional goals, it has been reported that the ease of travel has influenced Warbrick’s decision.
The current Covid-19 measures globally have made it tougher than ever for professional athletes to travel and represent their countries. As well as the multiple logistical problems that it creates, players’ mental states have also been affected - not just in rugby union, but all sports.
Team bubbles and quarantine measures have meant that athletes have had to spend more time away from family and friends than ever before.
A move to the NRL would give Warbrick an easier life in terms of having a more settled life, due to the fact that it’s a domestic league. The only required trips would be from Australia to his native New Zealand, and the two countries now have a free travel corridor.
If all goes well in Melbourne, Warbrick could be jetting off again pretty soon, as he has ambitions to play for the All Blacks in the 13 man game.
Though Warbrick knows he has to take things step by step and has broken down his goals - first wanting to get into the squad before he concentrates on gaining his first cap.
He has acknowledged that it is going to be a “big challenge”, but would “love to put on the black jersey” in the 13-man game.
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