By Lee Stace
ALL BLACKS second five Ma’a Nonu says he is glad to be back in an environment where he can concentrate solely on playing rugby.
The 29-year-old endured a difficult Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes this year, his falling out with coach Mark Hammett and subsequent dumping from the Wellington-based franchise dominating headlines.
That’s why Nonu is looking forward to sinking his teeth into the upcoming All Blacks campaign, which kicks off against Fiji at Carisbrook in Dunedin tomorrow night.
“What happened at the Hurricanes is behind me and I cannot wait to play for the All Blacks again,” he told Rugby News.
As has already been well-documented, the relationship between Hammett and Nonu broke down, as the former believed the latter was a bad influence on the team’s younger players.
While being told he would not be required by his home franchise for 2012 was a difficult pill to swallow, the 56-test veteran is looking forward to linking up with the Blues next year.
“It will make for a nice change,” he says. “I have known [coach Pat Lam] for a long time and I’ve heard from the other players that he is a great coach who sets high standards in terms of what he wants from the team. Hopefully I can contribute meaningfully to the team.”
Nonu will also undertake a playing sabbatical with Japan Top League outfit Ricoh Black Rams at the end of this season prior to next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Asked if he was concerned about fatigue setting in midway through next season due to his heavy diet of rugby he will experience after the Rugby World Cup, Nonu says it “might happen”.
“But at the moment I’m not worried about that. I’m just taking it day by day and focusing on the All Blacks’ campaign.”« Back to Articles
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