Super Rugby Aotearoa: All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala signs for Blues

The Blues have added more All Blacks firepower to their forward pack by signing prop Nepo Laulala on a two-year deal. 

Laulala will link with fellow international props Ofa Tuungafasi, Karl Tu'inukuafe and new cap Alex Hodgman, giving the Blues one of the most dominant front rows in Super Rugby Aotearoa. 

But their firepower also extends to the rest of the pack, with lock Patrick Tuipulotu, and loose forwards Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii and Akria Ioane in the current squad, while hooker James Parsons and flanker Dillion Hunt - who signed with the Blues in August - have previously played for New Zealand. 

Laulala's decision to leave the Chiefs for the Blues was based on family living in Auckland. 

"My wife and I felt the time was right for us to move closer to our families in Auckland," says Laulala. "I went to school in Auckland and our extended families are all there.

"Family is so important to us and even more so for Loriana to have support when I am away.

"I am excited to join the Blues, and get to train and play alongside Ofa, Alex and Karl, and I am looking forward to working with Ben Afeaki, Tom Coventry and the rest of the coaching team."

Blues coach Leon MacDonald is excited to work with Laulala, as he looks to build on the Blues' second-place finish during the Super Rugby Aotearoa season. 

"Nepo is a powerful scrummager, and has worked hard on improving his mobility and handling around the field," says MacDonald.

"It will be great for the four All Blacks to feed off each other, share information and collectively push themselves to continue to improve.

"It will also give us the opportunity to keep the group fresh and excited each week."

The All Blacks will depart for Australia on Sunday, before the third Bledisloe Cup test on October 31, although Laulala will miss the plane on paternity leave.

Laulala made his Super Rugby debut in 2012 with the Crusaders - where brother Casey played - before shifting to the Chiefs four years later.

He's played 26 tests for the All Blacks since making his 2015 debut. 

Join us on October 31 for live updates of the third All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test