Ma’a Nonu, recently back in the south of France, returned to New Zealand this year to meet former teammates Leon Macdonald and Tana Umaga, who are now coaches for the country’s most underperforming rugby team.
The first game of the season of Come Nonu, against the Crusaders in Christchurch, attracted fans of the country to know if the bulldozer dreadlock would revive his youth or ridicule. Now you can book your Rugby World Cup Tickets to support your players and favorite team.
Before leaving the country in 2015, Nonu was well known as the cannonball of the midfielder All Blacks. If the team was a little ahead or just needed patience before they could launch a more creative attack, Nonu was the author of the opposition defense.
2019 Nonu seems to be a totally different type of player. In this first game against the Crusaders, it’s not his hard shots in attack and defense that caught the eye, it’s his precise pass.
Against the Crusaders, there were times when the ex-All Black looked a little behind giving up the weird tackle and getting caught on his outer shoulder once or twice. However, his skills seemed to have developed more since he left New Zealand almost 4 years ago.
Perhaps even more important than all the other qualities that Nonu possesses is his experience. Two World Cup medals, the Wellington and Hurricane Finals, and more than 100 Test and Super Rugby selections paint a portrait of a man who has had all the ups and downs rugby has to offer.
With the embarrassment of the wealth of Steve Hansen and his teammates in the midfield All Blacks, it is perhaps a little too optimistic to hope for a national reminder for Ma’a Nonu at the moment. Given the diversity of skills he has and his undeniable experience, perhaps now is the time to create a fairy tale.
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