Nonu - running out of options?
July 17, 2013, 15:52:00
The following gives an indication of what can happen to a player that buggers u badly in Super 15 and then play well in tests:-
"All Blacks and Highlanders midfielder Ma'a Nonu is running out of places to play Super Rugby next year and the only likely franchise appears to be the Hurricanes.
In 2011 Nonu was told he would not be needed by the Hurricanes franchise so he moved to Auckland and played for the Blues for one season.
This year he played for the Highlanders in Dunedin but he missed their final regular season match as he was suspended following a red card.
None of the New Zealand Rugby franchises have shown much interest in the All Black and his contract expires at the end of the year.
If Nonu wants to remain an All Black he will need a Super Rugby contract.
The Chiefs have said that they have no space for Nonu and the Highlanders offered him a contract but he failed to sign it suggesting that he wants to move on.
Crusaders backs coach Tabai Matson says that they have not even spoken about Nonu and the Blues says that they can't fit him in.
That only leaves the Hurricanes and the New Zealand Rugby Union may be forced to lean on them if they want him to remain an All Black.
While Nonu does not appear to be on any shopping lists in New Zealand it is unlikely that he will struggle to get a contract offshore.
"Ma'a isn't off contract until the end of the year and he still has a fair amount of rugby with us this year with Rugby Championship and end of year tour," NZRU rugby operations manager Neil Sorensen said in a short statement about Nonu.
"He is obviously weighing up the options that he has and we continue to talk to him about those as we see him as critical to the continued success of the All Blacks."
Nonu has often spoken about his desire to play for the Hurricanes again but it was current coach Mark Hammett that rejected him partly due to his disruptive influence.
Hammett has spent the last two seasons building a tight knit, unified and settled group and the question is whether Nonu can fit into the new team dynamic."
I watched numerous games in which Nonu played for the Highlanders this year and his main contribution was to neutralize the dangerous wings and full back of the Highlanders by starving them of possession - too much ineffective crashballing like Franncois Steyn. When he did not play the Highlanders backline was much more dangerous and they manage to use their backline and especially Gear, Poki and Smith much more. Ellison was by far also a much better option at center.
Nonu also buggered up badly by getting red-carded and banned for four weeks - but if my memory serves me wel - I think he has had a yellow card or two as well earlier in the season.
I can understand why the NZ franchises do not want him in their squads - since his performance in Super 15 ws not up to standard coupled to injuries normally associated more with aging players - more frequent injuries and longer recovery periods.
Nonu is already 31 years of age - and I think his best option would be a Japanese or Euro contract to earn some serious pension money