Weepu set to follow Nonu to Blues
July 30, 2011
Weepu will link-up with Nonu at the Blues next term © Getty Images
All Blacks scrum-half Piri Weepu has decided to follow in international team-mate Ma'a Nonu's footsteps and sign for the Blues ahead of the 2012 Super Rugby season.
The 27-year-old, who was a second half replacement in New Zealand's 40-7 win over South Africa on Saturday, is the fourth All Blacks player to leave the troubled Wellington-based franchise this year.
Weepu said the decision to leave the Hurricanes, a team he had played 84 times for, was a tough one to make. "It was a very tough decision, I'm pretty much a Wellingtonian through and through but obviously I've just made a few personal choices.
"It's more of an opportunity for myself, it's a new challenge. I've been here for seven, eight seasons now and I'm getting quite old so I thought ... a change of scenery would be good for myself."
Weepu added that he was looking for something different ahead of a potential move abroad saying: "I need a few more challenges before I maybe look offshore and set things up for myself."
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett also discarded hooker Andrew Hore at the end of the 2011 Super Rugby season and the 51-cap Kiwi is thought to be close to a move to the Highlanders, while first five-eighth Aaron Cruden, who has played six Tests, will play for the Chiefs next season.
Weepu, who was expected to feature at both halfback and first five-eighth for the Blues, admitted the way the Hurricanes' season ended played a small factor in his move north saying: "It played a minor part in it, not really a major part ... it came down to more personal reasons and what I want to achieve before I finish rugby here in New Zealand."
Blues coach Pat Lam said Weepu's decision to move to the Blues is great news for the franchise. "Piri's ability in both the nine and 10 jerseys as well as goal-kicking makes him a pretty special player. He is also a strong leader within a team and we're very much looking forward to him joining us."
The end of season clearout at the Hurricanes may not be over yet with wing Hosea Gear and fullback Cory Jane, both All Blacks, yet to confirm their plans for 2012.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery