Rugby: Muliaina signs with Irish side

Mils Muliaina. Photo / Stephen Barker.
Mils Muliaina. Photo / Stephen Barker.

Former All Black fullback Mils Muliaina may have played his last game on New Zealand soil after signing a one-year deal with Irish side Connacht.

The 33-year-old will join former Blues coach Pat Lam at the club, signing a one year deal as a player-mentor.

Muliaina made six appearances for the Chiefs this year before being ruled out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

Following the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where Muliaina made his 100th test appearance for the All Blacks, he signed with Japanese side Docomo Red Hurricanes before returning to the Chiefs this season.

"I don't think I need to point out how huge it is to have Mils Muliaina as our first All Black coming to represent Connacht," Lam told the club's website.

"The second ever All Black and the first ever back to reach 100 test matches is some achievement but what's incredible about Mils is the passion and professionalism he brings whenever he plays and I know he will bring that in the Connacht jersey.

At the age of 33, he still has that hunger to play competitive rugby and before his surgery last month, he showed his quality and ability to keep playing at the top level in Super Rugby."

Muliaina will join fellow Chiefs back Bundee Aki at the club along with Blues prop Tom McCartney. Muliaina will join the club after the Super Rugby season ends.

"I have a good understanding about my role and what is expected of me at Connacht," Muliaina said.

"I've heard a lot about the talented young backs at the club - guys like Robbie Henshaw - and I'm keen to help anywhere I can, both on and off the field. Being able to play some competitive football while also sharing my knowledge and helping Connacht to achieve their vision played a big part in my decision to move. I expect to learn a good bit from these young guys too and that's exciting."

- APNZ

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