16 Jul 2014

Boyd not worried at all about Nonu

6:30 pm on 16 July 2014

The incoming Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says he's got no doubts his returning All Black star Ma'a Nonu will contribute positively to the Super Rugby franchise.

Nonu's returning to the Hurricanes after he was shown the door back in 2011 by then-coach Mark Hammett, who cited him and prop Andrew Hore as not being helpful to the team environment.

Nonu spent the last three years at the Highlanders and Blues but has now signed to return to the Hurricanes for next year, with Hammett now leaving to coach Cardiff.

Boyd met with Nonu for the first and only time last week and had a long discussion about what the 32-year-old's return to the franchise would look like, the coach says they really didn't delve into the past at all, and he hasn't spoken to the Blues or Highlanders coaches about Nonu either.

Boyd says he's not interested in the past, and he's known Nonu for a long time, from coaching him with Wellington B and at the Lions from 2003 to 2006.

According to Boyd, Nonu's the best second five in the world and has played very well for the Blues and Highlanders right throughout his time at the other franchises, he's aware that he's now a senior player who is giving back to the team, rather than being the junior taking everything away for their own development.

Boyd, the current Wellington coach and former under-20 national mentor, doubts he'll have to man-manage Nonu more than any other player, and says it's hard for him to comment on the mindset at the Hurricanes when the midfielder left, as he doesn't know what the mindset back then was like.

Boyd thinks Nonu's "carried the can" at times at the Highlanders and Blues but hopefully he'll just have to do his job, with the senior players he'll have around him at the Hurricanes, such as captain and long-time All Blacks team-mate Conrad Smith at centre and fellow international Beauden Barrett at first five eighths.

The coach says while their roster's looking pretty tidy right now, they are still searching for another midfielder after losing both Tim Bateman and Alapati Leiua, and perhaps some more cover in the loose forward positions.