Nonu back to the Blues in 2019

Super Rugby
by Staff Writer

All Blacks legend Ma'a Nonu is coming back to Super Rugby to play for the Blues.

Nonu has spent the past three seasons playing for Toulon in the Top 14 after moving offshore at the end of 2016.

This one-year deal will be his third stint at the Blues, after playing in Auckland in 2012 and 2014. 

The 36-year-old is most synonymous with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, having played his provincial rugby with Wellington and notching 126 Super Rugby caps with the Hurricanes franchise.

Nonu has played 103 Tests for the All Blacks and was one of their best players in a 12-year international career.

He was a notoriously average Super Rugby performer but Nonu proved he was all class when it came to Test rugby and his former Wellington, Hurricanes and All Blacks teammate, Blues coach Tana Umaga wants to tap into his experience.

The Blues finished on the bottom of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference in 2018 and Umaga is under enormous pressure to turn things around after being handed a one-year contract extension.

"Our review showed that our backline, while talented and exciting, lacked an experienced figure on a regular basis in the midfield due to injury,” Umaga said.

“Next season will throw up some other challenges with a new format without the international break. And players in line for the World Cup, like Sonny Bill Williams, will likely be monitored more closely.”

Nonu said he was optimistic about the Blues' future under one of his former All Blacks teammates.

“Hopefully next year will be a year to build and to be successful. That is the challenge I am looking forward to," he said

“I know the Blues have had some tough times in the last few seasons but I am excited to play with some of the young and up-and-coming players who will have long careers and rejuvenate this place.

“And I am looking forward to be under the watchful eye of Tana who was a mentor when I was coming through, so I am looking forward to doing my best for him and the franchise.”

The 2019 Super Rugby season kicks off on Friday February 16, with the Blues taking on the Crusaders in round one.