All Black Ma’a Nonu
The Blues have signed All Black second-five Ma’a Nonu for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen reportedly confirmed the much anticipated move today, in a radio interview.
A spokesman for the Blues denied the move, saying it wasn’t a done deal and the franchise wasn’t ready to make an announcement.
On Saturday Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said he’d forgiven Nonu for breaking a handshake deal with him to stay with the franchise this past season.
Instead Nonu broke that deal and skipped off to play for Jamie Joseph’s ill-fated Highlanders.
He had a mixed year down south and was then unwanted by other franchises before finally landing in Auckland.
Nonu’s only other alternative was to head off-shore to France.
But former All Black coach and Kirwan confidant John Hart said, yesterday, Nonu was driven by the need to repair his “tarnished” image and wanted to stay in New Zealand for the immediate future.
The 31-year-old was rumored to be taking a NZRU sabbatical next season but now looks set to team up with a star-studded Blues backline which could include Piri Weepu, Benji Marshall and All Black back-up centre Francis Saili.
The 85-Test All Black is believed to have reached the deal with Kirwan in the last 48 hours.