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Former All Black Nonu dreaming of World Cup comeback

Ma’a Nonu is back in New Zealand for the Super Rugby season and has one eye on an All Blacks return for this year’s World Cup © AFP / XAVIER LEOTY

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Feb 12 – All Black legend Ma’a Nonu said Tuesday he was eyeing a World Cup comeback in Japan later this year but he first needed to prove himself at Super Rugby level with the Auckland Blues.

The two-time World Cup winner, aged 36, has returned from three years playing in Europe for his third stint with the Blues, where he will partner fellow veteran Sonny Bill Williams in the centres.

The last of Nonu’s 103 Tests was New Zealand’s 34-17 win over Australia in the 2015 World Cup final at Twickenham and he was coy when quizzed about a return to the international stage in Japan.

“I think it’s there in everyone’s minds. For me it’s trying to make the Blues team first so one step at a time,” he told reporters.

Nonu brushed off further questions about his World Cup aspirations, joking: “All I’m thinking about is lunch right now.”

To make the All Blacks, he would need to muscle his way into contention among current midfielders such as Williams, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape.

He would also need to help turn around the fortunes of the Blues, who finished second to last on the overall table last year.

In the past, Nonu has been accused of coasting during Super Rugby and lifting his intensity for Test matches but he said he was fully committed to helping the Blues succeed this season.

“I haven’t won Super Rugby before, I’ve come up short twice (in two finals) and played a lot of semi-finals for the (Wellington) Hurricanes,” he said.

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“It’s another driver this year.”

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