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Dublin: 5°C Monday 8 March 2021

We haven't seen THIS devastating version of Ma'a Nonu in Super Rugby in about 5 years

The centre hasn’t always produced his best form in the southern hemisphere tournament.

Image: Photosport/Marty Melville/INPHO

MA’A NONU HASN’T always had the best relationship with Super Rugby, often performing considerably below the high standards he sets at international level.

Like many Welsh players in the Pro12, you get the impression that Nonu sometimes saves his best for the All Blacks and isn’t particularly enthusiastic about lining out for a struggling club team.

But during the first eight years of his career, Nonu lived a settled existence causing carnage with Conrad Smith for the Hurricanes. However, since the All Blacks World Cup win in 2011, the powerful centre has disappointed massively in the southern hemisphere club tournament.

Remarkably, he hasn’t played for a team for two straight years since.

He was criticised widely for his displays with the Blues in 2012 and lost his All Blacks place as a result. 2013 saw him move to the Highlanders… who promptly went and lost nine of their first ten games.

Last year saw him give it another go with the Blues before rejoining the Hurricanes this season. And playing alongside his regular All Blacks partner Smith seems to have rekindled Nonu’s Super Rugby form.

The Canes are currently top of the table and have won eight of their first nine games – Nonu is one of the big reasons why. His offload from today’s 35-19 bonus point win over the Reds is a perfect example of the all-round skill-set the big man possesses. There are many guys who combine power and pace as effectively as Nonu can.



The All Black has already agreed to join Toulon after the World Cup, so this is his Super Rugby farewell tour.

And it will be interesting to see what centre partnership Steve Hansen goes with at the World Cup. Nonu and Smith know each other so well but you also have Sonny Bill Williams, who has performed really well on his return to rugby union.

It’s a great problem selection to have though.

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