Ma'a Nonu says staying in New Zealand was always his preferred option as a two year deal with the Blues was confirmed today.
As local options looked limited following his departure from the Highlanders, his third New Zealand franchise in as many years, Nonu was tempted by offshore offers.
But a deal has been done to keep him here for till 2015, meaning he will be in line to defend the World Cup in England with the All Blacks.
The Blues have thrown him a lifeline, despite walking out on them last year.
"I am excited to be staying in New Zealand and returning to play my rugby with the Blues. While I had options to play elsewhere, my preference was always to stay, so my family and I are really happy that I can do that," Nonu said in a statement today.
"I would like to thank the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for giving me the chance to re-sign for a further two years. I'm really looking forward to next year's Super Rugby season and playing in front of the Blues fans."
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan feels Nonu, who has 133 Super Rugby games and 85 tests for the All Blacks in a decade-long professional rugby career, will offer his team plenty in their second year under his command.
"Ma'a has been in brilliant form for the All Blacks and we're thrilled to welcome him back to the Blues. He's one of the best midfielders in the world so to have someone with his abilities is a huge asset to the squad," Kirwan said.
The challenge for Kirwan will be to get Nonu to replicate his All Blacks form in a Blues jersey.
The New Zealand Rugby Union are clearly happy to see the long saga over the 31-year-old's future finally resolved.
The prospect of having Nonu playing overseas and trying to work him into the All Blacks system was clearly going to be embarrassing and stretching their own regulations.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said: "We are delighted that Ma'a is staying in New Zealand for the next two seasons. He remains a world-class player who is important to New Zealand Rugby, including the All Blacks, and we are happy that the issue of his future has now been resolved."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is Richie McCaw now the greatest All Black of all time?