New Zealand international Ma’a Nonu has signed with the Blues and the New Zealand Rugby Union for two years after leaving the Hurricanes.
The All Black was one of three players released by the New Zealand franchise earlier in the season, and will take a sabbatical from the game and then join the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan’s Top League competition for the remainder of the year before returning home to hook up with the Blues.
Nonu, who went public with his displeasure at being let go by the Hurricanes, has expressed his delight with signing for the Super Rugby semi-finalists and revealed there were numerous clubs in the hunt for his signature.
“I’m happy that I’m continuing my career in New Zealand and would like to thank the Blues for giving me the opportunity to join them,” said Nonu.
“I was flattered and grateful to receive offers to play for other teams as well but the Blues was the best option for me and my family and I’m really looking forward to joining them next year.” He added.
Punters could get free bets on Nonu departing for pastures new before the Blues offered him a way of remaining at the top level in his home country.
The deal is significant because it means that Nonu will still be available to play for the All Blacks having not ruled himself out of contention with a money-spinning move to a European club.
NZRU CEO Steve Tew admitted it was a relief to secure the services of Nonu after some big name players opted to leave the country, and said the NZRU were comfortable with his “one-off” decision to play in Japan once the Super Rugby season ends.
Blues coach Pat Lam was pleased to have secured the services of Nonu, and described him as a “quality” player.
It’s no secret there was a lot of interest in securing Ma’a by teams both locally and around the world. He is a quality player so it’s great news for the Blues that he has chosen our team in which to continue his impressive rugby career.” He commented.
Those who bet with paypal will note how the Blues will be able to benefit from Nonu’s experience, with the centre having played 110 Super Rugby matches.