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Tuivasa-Sheck eyes Kiwis' home cup matches

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/07/2016 By Robert Lowe

Kiwis fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has added incentive to be part of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Along with Australia and Papua New Guinea, New Zealand will co-host the tournament, meaning Tuivasa-Sheck will get the chance to wear the black jersey at home for the first time.

"That's going to be real cool," he said in Auckland on Tuesday.

"Playing in England for the Kiwis, we get a bit of a taste with a few fans over there, which is pretty awesome.

"Coming to New Zealand and playing in front of our home crowd, that's going to be something special, because that's why you wear the jersey - for the people in New Zealand."

Tuivasa-Sheck, who is recovering from a season-ending knee injury, was speaking after organisers announced the World Cup draw, which has the 14 teams divided into four pools.

The tournament will kick off with Australia facing England in Melbourne on October 27 and end with the final in Brisbane on December 2.

There will be seven matches in New Zealand, including all three of the Kiwis' pool fixtures.

The Kiwis start their campaign against Samoa at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on October 28.

They meet Scotland in Christchurch and then Tonga in Hamilton, which will also stage the match between Samoa and Tonga.

Christchurch and Wellington will each have a quarter-final, while one of the semi-finals will be in Auckland.

Tuivasa-Sheck, who hails from Apia, is particularly hoping he gets to take the field against the country of his birth.

He will be also be an interested observer when Samoa and Tonga clash at Waikato Stadium.

"I was born in Samoa but raised in New Zealand, so I hope I play in that game," he said.

"Then Tonga-Samoa, their games together are always exciting because there's always a great battle between them two."

Tuivasa-Sheck, 23, made his Kiwis debut during the 2013 World Cup in England and has gone on to collect 11 caps.

His knee injury, suffered in the Warriors' 24-20 win over Canterbury in Wellington in April, meant he missed this year's Anzac Test.

He said was on track with his rehabilitation and could be back running again next month.

"I'm just working day-by-day," he said.

"They told me that in a month's time I could be back on the field. Hopefully I don't get too excited and try to rush myself back and hurt myself even more."

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