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OPINION: The Hurricanes can't seriously be entertaining thoughts of welcoming back Ma'a Nonu.
Bad enough to be run out of town three years ago, what on earth has Nonu done in the meantime to suggest he is worth another look by the Canes?
Has his on-field disciplinary record improved? Nope.
Has he subsequently transformed the fortunes of the Blues and the Highlanders? Absolutely not.
Nonu's antics at the Hurricanes in 2011 are part of folklore. Stories of disrespecting coach Mark Hammett, stories of shortening up junior teammates, not to mention penalties and cards on the field.
There seems to be only one obvious explanation why things go so pear-shaped for Nonu at Super Rugby level but work out well for him and the All Blacks at test level. That is that Nonu gets too big for his boots when he is top dog within Super Rugby teams but once he shifts to the All Blacks he is more conscious about stepping out of line.
Of course, Nonu wants to come back to Wellington. He is home-grown and has run out of places to go. Three franchises in three years is an indictment on him. A half a dozen years ago franchises would have fallen over themselves to sign him but now the boot is on the other foot.
If Hammett signs Nonu for next season he has lost his marbles. It will be a short-term fix and will smack of desperation. Hammett keeps telling us the Hurricanes are a tight group and are close to cracking it. If he signs Nonu he will get a physical presence at second five-eighth but he will get a headache as well.
If Nonu comes to Wellington, I predict the following:
(1) The Hurricanes will go backwards.
(2) The fans will not return in droves to Westpac Stadium as some have predicted.
(3) Hurricanes backs coach Alama Ieremia will have a difficult year.
(4) Beauden Barrett will pack his bag and go to the Blues.
Let's hope Hammett and Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni are simply being diplomatic when they say the door is not currently shut on any player.
- Fairfax Media
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