Nonu's Hurricanes return confirmed

Date published: July 16 2014

The Hurricanes have confirmed the arrival of All Black centre Ma'a Nonu from the Blues for the 2015 Super Rugby season

The Hurricanes have confirmed the arrival of All Black centre Ma'a Nonu from the Blues for the 2015 Super Rugby season

The Tests veteran earned 110 caps for the 'Canes between 2003 and 2011 before leaving for stints at the Blues and Highlanders following a fallout with coach Mark Hammett, who is leaving the franchise for Cardiff Blues in Wales.

The Hurricanes failed to qualify for the playoffs during Hammett's four seasons in charge but unlike the departing coach, who on Monday told media that the culture of the team was a “mess” when he took over in 2011, Nonu refused to fire a shot his former coach.

The 32-year-old, who has signed a one-year deal, said he will return to Wellington as a better person.

“I could probably now thank (Hammett) in terms of what happened,” Nonu told New Zealand media on Wednesday.

“I could honestly say I was bitter in terms of when I left. These things happen and life throws you challenges in terms of what you want to get out of it. I've come through a better person and have new motivations to play rugby.

“I've learned a lot over the last three years. There's some good people, and some not so good people. For me it's surrounding myself with good people.

“I can honestly say it was a blessing in disguise, going to new places where I was really uncomfortable and vulnerable at times.

“You learn these things when you leave home. The last three years has been challenging but I wouldn't have wished for anything more to happen.”

Before departing the capital in 2012, Nonu contributed 215 points in his 110 matches for the Hurricanes, made up of 43 tries.

Incoming Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said the skill set Nonu would bring to the Hurricanes would greatly complement the players already on the roster.

“I coached Ma'a for the first time back in the early 2000s in the Wellington B team, so we have a long history together as a player and coach.

“I'm really looking forward to having him back in the environment and working with him again.”

Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni said recent fan interest had certainly been high in Nonu returning to his home town, and it was pleasing to be able to confirm his homecoming today.

“The departure of Tim Bateman and Alapati Leiua has created a need at 12, and clearly Ma'a is a world-class midfielder. Alongside the return of Jason Woodward, Canes fans can look forward to seeing a very exciting Hurricanes backline for 2015.”