Nonu concedes Fofana and Fritz bossed him
November 8, 2013
Enter the Autumn Internationals Fantasy Game © Scrum.com
Ma'a Nonu is happy to have a weight off his shoulders on the All Blacks' end of year tour, the veteran centre saying he led a "double life" while his future was being determined over a difficult period that stretched for months this year.
Nonu, 31, was close to signing to play for a French club with no Super Rugby contract on offer from any of the five New Zealand franchises, but he accepted an 11th-hour offer from the Blues and signed to rejoin the team he left in 2012 through to the end of 2015.
"During The Rugby Championship when I was trying to sort that out, I had to put it aside really and put [the All Blacks] first in terms of playing well," Nonu said. "Now it's sorted, it feels just a relief."
Nonu this year produced some of the best rugby of his 85-Test career, saying he was able to do so because he separated his off-field issues and playing duties "in different cupboards".
"If you have two cupboards open, you don't know what you're going to wear tomorrow," Nonu said.
Nonu is looking forward to renewing hostilities with Wesley Fofana and Florian Fritz in at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, saying that he and Conrad Smith were eclipsed by the French duo during the Dave Gallaher Trophy series in New Zealand in June, which the hosts won 3-0.
"I thought they probably outplayed us in June in terms of defence and attack," Nonu said, illustrating the task that he and new partner Ben Smith face in Paris. "They've got a good blitz defence and they like to push a lot. They're very physical front-on. It's a combination that was new to me and it will be tougher this week at their home."
Follow live text commentary of the Test between France and New Zealand on Saturday, November 9 from 8pm (GMT) 9am (Sunday, November 10 NZDT), 7am (Sunday, November 10 AEDT)
Steve Hansen is content with the All Blacks' preparations for France
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside