Sonny Bill Williams' decision on his playing future could provide a lifeline for unwanted All Black Ma'a Nonu at the Chiefs.
Sonny Bill Williams' decision on his playing future this week could provide a lifeline for unwanted All Black Ma'a Nonu at the Chiefs.
Nonu has been unable to pick up a Super Rugby contract with any of the five New Zealand franchises for next year and is believed to be negotiating a move to France.
The Chiefs had pinned their hopes on code-jumping star Williams returning to their rugby union ranks after helping the Sydney Roosters win the National Rugby League crown in Australia last weekend.
But after indicating the move was on, Williams' decision this week to stay with the Roosters has left a gaping hole in the Chiefs playing roster and Nonu is the only high-profile centre still looking for a job.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, who first won the Super Rugby crown in 2012 with Williams in his side, confirmed to New Zealand's Radio Sport on Saturday that Nonu was now an option.
“It could well be,” he said.
“We've got a bit of a plan around it, but Ma'a's certainly someone we've talked about.
The Blues are also reported to be having a rethink about the blockbusting Nonu after earlier writing him off when he walked out on a handshake agreement to play with the side this year.
“We are looking at him as an option,” a Blues spokesman told Fairfax Media, but added there was nothing “concrete” at this stage.
There is little time left to negotiate with the 84-Test Nonu as Super Rugby squads for 2014 must be finalised by October 22.
Nonu has played for three franchises over the past three seasons — the Hurricanes, the Blues and the Highlanders — and New Zealand's other Super Rugby side the Crusaders have said they do not want him.
He has been linked with a move to French side Clermont although the New Zealand Rugby Union has a policy of not picking anyone playing offshore.