Ma'a Nonu will play for the Hurricanes next year after activating the out-clause in his Blues contract.
Nonu left the Hurricanes for the Blues in 2012, before spending last year with the Highlanders. After a poor campaign, no New Zealand franchise wanted him until Blues coach John Kirwan offered him the chance to return to Auckland. But with coach Mark Hammett having left the Hurricanes at the end of their 2014 campaign, Nonu has decided to return 'home'.
Nonu said he bore no ill will towards Hammett for sacking him, saying the experience had been 'a blessing in disguise' that forced him out of his comfort zone and made him more mature.
'I could probably now thank him, in terms of what happened, really,' he told reporters. 'I can honestly say I was bitter when I left but these things happen and life throws you challenges.'
Incoming Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said he was excited to welcome a player of Nonu's calibre.
'I coached Ma'a for the first time back in the early 2000s in the Wellington B team, so we have a long history together as a player and coach,' he said. 'I'm really looking forward to having him back in the environment and working with him again.'
Boyd will be assisted by former Sharks coach John Plumtree, who also rates Nonu highly.
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