Former New Zealand Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is one step closer to representing the All Blacks following his switch to rugby, with the Dally M Medal winner named in New Zealand's squad for next month's series against Ireland.
The All Blacks will welcome Ireland to New Zealand for a three-Test series beginning on July 2 in Auckland before further bouts in Dunedin and Wellington.
Tuivasa-Sheck will make just his 8th appearance for Super Rugby side the Auckland Blues on Saturday when they host the Crusaders in the competition's season decider.
The 29-year-old will then turn his attention to a potential All Blacks debut, being one of six players in line to land their maiden international appearance for New Zealand.
“We want to congratulate the six new caps in what will be a very special day for them and their families who I’m sure will be extremely proud of their achievements,” All Blacks coach Ian Foster said.
“We have a new group of exciting players who will be keen to make a difference in the All Black jersey.
“This will be the biggest home series since the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour for the All Blacks.
“There are massive expectations all around and it will be immensely competitive.”
Tuivasa-Sheck wasn't the only ex-NRL star to land a national-side call-up this week, with former Storm flyer Suliasi Vunivalu named in Dave Rennie's 35-man Wallabies squad to face England.
A 111-game Melbourne representative and two-time NRL premiership player, Vunivalu has been given the nod to earn his stripes for Australia after impressing with the Queensland Reds.
The Wallabies are scheduled to host England in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney are part of the three-Test series.
"The core of this squad is a group who have performed strongly for us over the last two seasons, while strong form in Super Rugby Pacific has been rewarded with a handful of new faces," Rennie said.
"The past two years have allowed us to build strong foundations as a group but there's no doubt that we have a lot more in us.
"We're looking forward to working hard and preparing as a group to put in performances that make our supporters proud against England next month."