MAKING the transition from rugby union to rugby league is one that takes some doing.
Whilst a number of rugby league men have gone to the 15-man code, those coming to the 13-man game have been less forthcoming.
Indeed, Kyle Eastmond found how difficult it was back in 2021 when he joined Leeds Rhinos, only to play two games before retiring.
But, in more recent months and years, union stars have spoken more openly about potentially switching codes. Which five could potentially excel in rugby league?
Owen Farrell – England
Of course, there has been a lot of speculation recently about Owen Farrell potentially making it to rugby league following a disappointing Autumn Nations series with England rugby union. With an ability to kick from all over the field and a toughness that belies his small stature and position, Farrell would be devastating in the 13-man code. Able to find a pass from nowhere and skip through defences, the son of cross-code legend Andy Farrell would be a magnificent hit in rugby league. Having played his junior rugby for Wigan St Patricks, the link is already there.
Tom Curry – England
Having outlined his previous desire to try out rugby league, Tom Curry was invited to a session with the Leeds Rhinos over a year ago, but that broke down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, the powerful England flanker/Number 8 signed a new deal at Saracens but that still hasn’t stopped rugby league fans from dreaming of the 24-year-old making a momentous switch to the 13-man game. The pedigree runs throughout Curry with the Hounslow-born enforcer becoming the youngest player to debut for England in 90 years back in 2017. Imagine if this move could be pulled off!
Ange Capuozzo – Italy
Italian international Ange Capuozzo may be relatively unheard of in rugby league, but in union, his reputation is burgeoning. Capped seven times by Italy despite being born in France, the fleet-footed winger/fullback is one of the most devastating runners in the 15-man game. Earlier this year, Capuozzo made the headlines when he set up one of the best tries in the Six Nations Championships as Italy triumphed over Wales for the first time since 2007, ending a 36-game losing streak in that competition. A real livewire and just 23 years of age, Capuozzo would have plenty of space and opportunity to wow audiences in rugby league.
Romain Ntamack – France
A fly-half for current domestic club Toulouse, Romain Ntamack has become one of France’s most influential players in recent years with his kicking and passing game often being influential in L’Hexagon winning big fixtures. At just 23 years of age, Ntamack has been capped 30 times by France with his place kicking often heralded as one of the best in rugby union. His fast feet and hands would make him the ideal candidate to make the switch to rugby league as Ntamack helped France to Six Nations victory in 2022.
TJ Perenara – New Zealand
At 30 years of age, TJ Perenara had been linked with a move to the NRL this year before opting to sign a new two-year deal with New Zealand rugby and the Hurricanes. But, it was no surprise that the New Zealand international had been touted as a potential league player given his prominence as a playmaker for the All Blacks. With 79 caps under his belt, the halfback has been the face of the All Blacks since 2016 when he took over from Aaron Smith as Haka leader, but it is obvious that he would take to the 13-man code like a duck to water given his influential kicking and running prowess for his club and country.