Nonu recommits to Blues for two years
October 22, 2013
After an unhappy season at the Highlanders, Nonu is excited to move back to the Blues and recommit to New Zealand © Getty Images
All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu has signed a two-year contract with New Zealand Rugby and the Blues. Nonu, 31, had been linked with a lucrative French club offer, but has agreed to terms with Blues coach Sir John Kirwan to remain in Super Rugby, NZR confirmed on Tuesday.
The Test veteran ended an unhappy 12-month stint with the Highlanders this year - completing his third season at a different franchise. Kirwan was upset when former Hurricanes back Nonu reneged on a handshake deal to stay with the Blues after one season in 2012.
However, the pair have reportedly made amends, and Nonu's future in New Zealand is confirmed before the All Blacks leave next week for their end-of-season tour of Japan and Europe.
Nonu has played 133 Super Rugby games and 85 Tests for the All Blacks in a decade-long professional rugby career. Kirwan welcomed Nonu's return to the Auckland-based franchise.
"Ma'a has been in brilliant form for the All Blacks and we're thrilled to welcome him back to the Blues," he said. "He's one of the best midfielders in the world, so to have someone with his abilities is a huge asset to the squad."
Chief executive Steve Tew said the NZR was happy to resolve Nonu's future. "We're delighted that Ma'a is staying in New Zealand for the next two seasons. He remains a world-class player who is important to New Zealand Rugby, including the All Blacks."
Nonu said while he had options to play elsewhere, his preference was always to stay in New Zealand. "I'm excited to be staying in New Zealand and returning to play my rugby with the Blues," he said. "I'd like to thank the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for giving me the chance to re-sign for a further two years."
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton