All Black centre and Hurricanes’ captain Conrad Smith has said that while he wants Ma’a Nonu to return to the yellow jersey, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
“That’s obviously why it’s taken as long as it has, there’s a bit to go through,” said Smith.
“I don’t know where it’s going to end up – I think there’d have to be a bit of shifting on his account.”
Nonu’s Super Rugby future has been in question following the Highlanders refusing to offer him a contract extension.
Nonu initially left the Hurricanes, where he found most of his success, in 2011 after a dispute with coach Mark Hammett. Nonu then moved to the Blues in 2012 and Highlanders in 2013 after some lacklustre seasons.
Smith, who is a long-time centre partner with the All Blacks alongside the line-breaking Nonu, explained that he’d enjoy having his dreadlocked National colleague back at the Hurricanes.
“I just said in terms of playing, I’d love to have him there.
“But I appreciate there’s a bigger picture and a lot of other things to go through.”
Smith said Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett had told him that Nonu had approached the franchise.
“The issue hadn’t come to a head at that stage, but they’d obviously been sounded out and he just sort of wanted to get my opinion. It was literally a two-minute conversation.”