Full name Ma'a Allan Nonu
Born May 21, 1982, Wellington
Current age 31 years 338 days
Major teams Barbarians, Blues, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Junior All Blacks, Wellington, New Zealand
Height 6 ft 0 in
Weight 231 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2003-2011||9||7||2||20||4||0||0||0||9||0||0||100.00|
|The Rugby Championship||2008-2013||32||31||1||50||10||0||0||0||26||6||0||81.25|
|Test debut||New Zealand v England at Wellington, Jun 14, 2003 match details|
|Last Test||Ireland v New Zealand at Lansdowne Road, Nov 24, 2013 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Nicknamed "rock", Nonu's line-breaking ability and aggressive crash-ball running angles led to his emergence as one of the most effective inside-centres in the world game during his time with the Hurricanes.
Nonu made his All Blacks debut against England in 2003, at a time when New Zealand were blessed with some of the best three-quarter options in the world. Tana Umaga, Aaron Mauger and Dan Carter beat Nonu to selection for the Tri-Nations, before he forced his way into the All Blacks' 2003 World Cup squad.
Nonu played pool games against Canada, Italy and Tonga but fears over his defensive frailties meant that he was overlooked for selection in the knock-out stages.
During the following Super 12 season Nonu suffered a dip in form that led to his exclusion from the 2004 Tri-Nations squad, although improved form during the NPC for Wellington ensured four substitute appearances during the All Blacks' undefeated European tour later that year.
Nonu again missed out on selection for the 2005 Tri-Nations, but in the absence of Tana Umaga was promoted to the Wellington captaincy for the NPC. Nonu hit a vein of form during the tournament, again forcing his way into the All Blacks' end-of-season plans. He made three appearances during a famous Grand Slam tour for the All Blacks in November 2005.
He missed out on the Tri-Nations in 2006, with an injury to his thumb allowing Mils Muliaina to try his hand in the centre. Nonu returned to the Wellington side in the NPC and was again included for the All Blacks' European tour.
Nonu was overlooked for the All Blacks' doomed 2007 World Cup bid, but returned to help the side win the 2008 Tri-Nations, entering into the best form of his international career. Nonu started three of New Zealand's games on their way to a Grand Slam tour in November 2008, scoring tries against Ireland, Wales and England and earning praise as one of the best players of the tour.
He retained his place in the side throughout 2009 but injury at the end of the 2010 Super 14 season saw him ruled out of the that year's opening international clashes. But he did enough in just 70 minutes of club rugby to reclaim his place at inside centre for the Tri-Nations opener against South Africa in Auckland.
Facing increased competition for his international place following the emergence of Sonny Bill Williams as a union star, the 2011 season did not start well for Nonu with a red card in the Hurricanes' Super Rugby opener against the Highlanders that led to a one-week ban. Later in the season it was confirmed that he was no longer required by the 'Canes, being shown the door along with veteran hooker Andrew Hore.
However, Nonu's form in an All Blacks shirt showed no signs of dipping during the Tri Nations. The rampaging centre was sensational throughout the campaign and was deservedly named in New Zealand's 30-man World Cup squad, having missed out on the 2007 tournament.
Nonu put in a stand-out performance in his side's opener against Tonga, running strongly throughout and grabbing the last try of a 41-10 rout. A man-of-the-match showing followed against Japan before his burst and sidestep set up Adam Thomson's opening try of the Pool A clash with France, which New Zealand went on to win 37-17. As the opponents improved, so too did Nonu and he scored the only try of the game as New Zealand defeated Australia 20-6 to reach their first World Cup final for 14 years.
Nonu put in another typically-tenacious performance in the final against France as New Zealand secured the crown of World Champions.