Super Rugby: Ma'a Nonu, Karl Tu'inukuafe confirmed in 2019 Blues squad

Ma'a Nonu
Ma'a Nonu in action for the Blues. Photo credit: Photosport

All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Karl Tu'inukuafe are the most significant arrivals in the Blues squad for the next season's Super Rugby campaign.

Both high-profile signings were confirmed, when the New Zealand franchises announced their line-ups on Wednesday, bolstering a squad riding high after Auckland's Mitre 10 Cup success last weekend.

International centurion Nonu will return for his third stint with the Auckland-based outfit, after three years with Toulon in France, joining current All Black Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield.  

Prop Tu'inukuafe made his surprise Super Rugby debut with the Chiefs last season, called in as injury cover, and was so impressive, he quickly rose to All Blacks ranks and is now a regular fixture in the national team front row.

blues squad

Only three players - Nonu, and Tasman midfielder Levi Aumua and loose forward Jed Brown - are from outside the Blues provincial unions of Northland, Auckland and North Harbour.

"We have made progress with this team, on and off the field, over the past three years, while our club has worked extremely well in many aspects of the operation off the field," says Blues coach Tana Umaga.

"The key now is to realise these improvements in our on-field performances in 2019.

"Our provincial unions have had solid seasons for the likes of Northland and Harbour, but of course Auckland have enjoyed a fantastic year and that will give us a boost with such a large number of Blues players in that squad."

This squad will hope to break a playoff drought that extends back to 2012.

The full Blues 2019 Super Rugby squad is:

Front row - Leni Apisai, Alex Hodgman, Ezekiel Lindenmuth*, Sione Mafileo, Matt Moulds, James Parsons, Marcel Renata*, Karl Tu'inukuafe*, Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Locks - Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Josh Goodhue, Jacob Pierce*, Scott Scrafton, Patrick Tuipulotu

Loose forwards - Jed Brown*, Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Tom Robinson*, Hoskins Sotutu*, Jimmy Tupou

Halfbacks - Sam Nock, Augustine Pulu, Jonathan Ruru

First-fives - Otere Black, Stephen Perofeta, Harry Plummer*

Midfield - Levi Aumua*, TJ Faiane, Ma'a Nonu, Tanielu Tele'a*, Sonny Bill Williams

Outside backs - Caleb Clarke, Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Melani Nanai, Jordan Trainor

*New Blues players

More to come

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