Huge rugby league star shockingly quits to take up boxing

We have seen the likes of Chris Aston and Josh Charnley leave Wigan Warriors for rugby union, Denny Solomona leave Castleford Tigers behind for union and even new Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess also left rugby league behind for union.

It is not uncommon to see rugby league players leave the sport for another. Sonny Bill Williams played rugby league and rugby union and also tried his hand at boxing.

This is what NRL star Tevita Pangai Jr has opted to do.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the NRL star has quit rugby league with the Canterbury Bulldogs to turn to boxing in a shock move and a big bold step for Pangai.

This comes as many NRL clubs are chased by other sports namely rugby union.

One of these has been Payne Haas.

Off contract at the end of 2024 the brilliant forward has been able to negotiate with rival clubs since November and that includes rugby union as well.

Haas has been key to Brisbane Broncos’ amazing start to the season as they finally look like Premiership contenders again but they face a tough battle to keep him at the club. He has been a front runner in Dally M leaderboard all season.

Initially he was offered a $1.2 million deal according to the Mail but some reports claimed it could be as much as $1.6 million.

Now the latest report from the Daily Telegraph is that Western Force are willing to pay him $1.5 million a year to acquire his services.

There is a hope in Union that he could be in the sport in time for the British and Irish Lions Tour as well as the World Cup in Australia in 2027 which is the driving force behind these pushes for talent with Joseph Suaali’i already signed and talks about attempting to bring Nathan Cleary to the sport as well as rugby union strives to raid rugby league’s biggest stars.

“Payne could definitely be wearing Wallaby gold,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said to The Daily Telegraph recently.

“We really like Payne. He has a strong rugby pedigree and it’s probably time for him to spread his wings and do something really special.

“The Broncos are great – but playing for the Wallabies against the British Lions would be even better. By playing rugby, Payne can see the world.”

That being said, it has also been reported that Brisbane have made a massive offer to keep Haas at the club till 2026.

However, if he were to leave at the end of that deal he could still leave in time for the 2027 World Cup.