Mils Muliaina open to a Super Rugby return
All Blacks legend Mils Muliaina said on Friday he misses the intensity of Super Rugby and would consider a return from Japan to the struggling Blues if he got the call, AFP reported tonight.
The 31-year-old back, who suffered an international career-ending shoulder injury during his 100th Test for New Zealand in last year's World Cup, said he was loving Japan but still wanted to end his career in New Zealand.
"The shoulder's good and the door's always open," Muliaina told AFP at a training session for the BGC Asia-Pacific Barbarians ahead of their match against English team Saracens in Hong Kong on Saturday.
"Being in Japan and not having to go through that physicality stuff, my body feels a lot better than what it has.
"I won't speculate on what's going to happen next year but I'd like to say that hopefully someone gives me a call and I'd go back," he told AFP.
Beleaguered Blues coach Pat Lam is in charge of the Asia-Pacific Barbarians for the Chartis Cup match, and Muliaina said it was "nice" to hook up with his old coach again.
Only the second All Black after current captain Richie McCaw to play in 100 Tests for New Zealand, Muliaina told AFP he would be an "outstanding spectator" when he retired from international rugby in October.
Muliaina played for the Blues and Chiefs during his Super Rugby career, before signing a two-year deal with Japanese club NTT Docomo knowing that would effectively mean the end of his international career after the World Cup.
"I'm enjoying the rugby in Japan. I'm enjoying the culture and the lifestyle as well. But the rugby's a bit different to what I'm used to in New Zealand," he told AFP.
"I didn't expect to miss it as much as what I have. The first month or so was pretty tough.
"I sort of always thought I'd finish my rugby career in New Zealand."
The Asia-Pacific Barbarians team also includes four other ex All Blacks in Jerry Collins, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Rico Gear and Troy Flavell.