Nonu on verge of Clermont switch
September 12, 2013
Ma'a Nonu would bring a sizeable presence to the Top 14 © Getty Images
Ma'a Nonu is reportedly on the verge of joining Clermont Auvergne with Toulon ruling themselves out of the running for the All Blacks centre.
Nonu will start for the All Blacks against South Africa on Saturday but his future looks set to be in Europe with a number of French clubs previously interested in his services. He is currently without a team having left the Highlanders at the end of last season and despite having played for the All Blacks on 81 occasions, no franchise seemed keen on his services.
The 31-year-old now looks likely to follow in the footsteps of his former All Blacks team-mate Sitiveni Sivivatu and join Clermont. They have been linked with his services and reports from France suggest he has now put pen to paper on a move to the Top 14.
Toulon were another side interested in Nonu but their owner Mourad Boudjellal has ruled his team out of the running. "We looked at the option, of course, but the player had very high contract expectations and did not fit our needs perfectly," Boudjellal told Var Matin. "With Bastareaud, Maxime Mermoz and Matt Giteau, the position is full, especially as Rudi Wulf, Bryan Habana and Drew Mitchell can also play centre."
The French newspaper claimed Boudjellal added Nonu would sign for Clermont with reports suggesting "high contract expectations" were in the region of €650,000 a year.
If Clermont complete the deal for Nonu then he will vie with the likes of French centres Wesley Fofana and Aurelien Rougerie and fellow Kiwis Benson Stanley and Regan King for a spot in the team.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
Jonny Wilkinson is the face of Toulon but whisper it, they might be a better team without him. Paul Eddison examines the case for dropping the talisman
"It does sometimes get tough as you get older, but there's nothing else I'd rather do." Tom Hamilton talks to fly-half Dan Carter
Stingers, a rampaging Fijian and two Dannys looking to be champions of the world - Monday Maul looks at some key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring