New Zealand Rugby
Muliaina confirms Japan switch
June 2, 2011
Mils Muliaina has agreed a two-year deal in Japan © Getty Images
Veteran All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina will head overseas following the Rugby World Cup.
The 30-year-old, who jointly holds the All Blacks Test caps record of 94 with skipper Richie McCaw, has signed a two-year contract with the Japanese club NTT Docomo.
"Once this season is over it will be time for something different," Muliaina said. "Japan itself offers a completely different culture and way of life that my entire family is looking forward to experiencing."
Muliaina follows Joe Rokocoko, Neemia Tialata, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Brad Thorn, among others, in confirming his departure from New Zealand, where he currently plays Super Rugby for the Chiefs and provincial rugby for Waikato.
He made his provincial debut for Auckland in 1999, his Super debut for the Blues in 2001 and his All Blacks debut against England in 2003.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has known Muliaina since he moved from Southland to Auckland as a schoolboy.
"Mils goes to Japan next year with the best wishes of everyone involved in the All Blacks," Henry said. "He is a special All Black, along with Richie McCaw our most capped Test player, an outstanding footballer who is the best in the world in his position.
"Mils is a natural leader, he has tremendous respect of his peers and has helped considerably in the development of younger players."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont