It might be a weight off his shoulders
It is not official yet, but All Black coach Steve Hansen's comments lend credence to reports that Ma'a Nonu will play for the Blues next year.
Radio LiveSport was reporting on Monday that the 31-year-old Nonu has turned down a lucrative French club offer and agreed to terms with Blues coach John Kirwan.
It would also ensure he remains available for the All Blacks, with a French move likely to have put his Test career on hold.
It was Hansen who let the cat out of the bag on Monday, saying in a radio broadcast that Nonu would return to the Blues from next season.
Hansen, who last week said Nonu's future had been an itch he wanted scratched all year, added he was relieved the world class player won't be heading offshore.
"It might be a weight off his shoulders," Hansen said.
"I just think it's great that he's here, it makes him available for us. He's playing very, very well at the moment.
"He's in a very good head space and physically, he's in good shape."
The 85-Test veteran ended an unhappy one-season stint with the Highlanders this year - completing his third season at a different franchise.
Although he has played 85 tests for the All Blacks, Nonu has been a noted non-performer at Super Rugby level.
Kirwan was upset when Nonu reneged on a handshake deal to stay with the Blues after one season there in 2012.
Nonu instead turned out for the Highlanders - his third franchise in as many years after his career at the Hurricanes ended when coach Mark Hammett forced him out.
However, Nonu and Kirwan have reportedly made amends, with an announcement expected before the All Blacks leave for their tour of Japan and Europe next week.
Nonu played 110 games for the Hurricanes between 2003 and 2011.
Sources: NZ Newswire & Fairfax media