Rugby: A look at Blues high profile signing history

Piri Weepu and Ma'a Nonu were less than impressive for the Blues. Photo / Getty
Piri Weepu and Ma'a Nonu were less than impressive for the Blues. Photo / Getty

Two-time World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams today announced he's signed with the Blues for next year's Super Rugby competition. It's another high profile signing for the franchise but few of them seemed to pay off.

Here's a look at the Blues signing history:


Ma'a Nonu

Ma'a Nonu signed on with the Blues for the 2012 Super Rugby season, making his debut in round three following a short stint in Japan.

Nonu failed to impress, and his form saw him excluded from the All Blacks side for the 2012 mid year test series against Ireland. Nonu's replacement - none other than Sonny Bill Williams.

He didn't find himself in the black jersey again until August when he provided injury cover for former Hurricanes team mate Conrad Smith, filling in at 13 for the first week of the Rugby Championship.

He would leave the Blues for the 2013 season, returning for a final year with the franchise in 2014.

Piri Weepu

Piri Weepu joined Hurricanes team mate Ma'a Nonu at the Blues in 2012.

The star signings of Weepu and Nonu were unable to bring the Blues a Super Rugby title, something the franchise has not experienced since 2003.

Weepu struggled with fitness and could not secure a starting position despite his ability to play both halfback and first five eighth.

Benji Marshall

It is safe to say that the Benji Marshall experiment did not go to plan. Marshall made the switch from rugby league to rugby union and struggled with the transition.

Marshall signed a two year deal with the Blues in 2014, but was released two months later after appearing in just six games.

Stephen Brett

Stephen Brett played two seasons for the Blues from 2010 to 2011.

Brett's Blues career ended in dramatic fashion as he was rushed to hospital after an incident at an end of season party. Brett stood on glass exiting a spa pool, severing four tendons in his toes.

He would head to Japan the next year.

Christian Califano

The 65-test veteran prop joined the Blues in 2002. Coach Peter Sloane managed to persuade the New Zealand authorities there were not enough frontline props within the franchise boundaries or on the draft list for the Blues to wage a decent campaign. He lasted one season and wasn't exactly dominating in the scrum alongside a young Tony Woodcock.

Alby Mathewson

Alby Mathewson is one of the 13 halfbacks the Blues have cycled through since Andy Ellis has been with the Crusaders.

Mathewson made the move from Wellington to Auckland to step out from Piri Weepu's shadow and try reclaim an All Blacks jersey. Mathewson earned three caps for the All Blacks in 2010 before Weepu followed him to the Blues the next season.

Matt Duffie

Matt Duffie is another Blues signing who made the switch from league to union.

Duffie's most memorable play for the Blues so far is being sent flying by the Crusaders' Nemani Nadolo.

John Kirwan

John Kirwan was on board as head coach of the Blues from 2013 to 2015.

After back to back 10th place finishes in 2013 and 2014, Kirwan had something to prove.

The Blues began the 2015 season with seven consecutive losses. The season didn't end any better with their final game a 44-7 home drubbing at the hands of the Highlanders.

Kirwan resigned in June 2015 after leading the team to a franchise worst record of three wins and 13 losses that season.


Josh Bekhuis

Super Rugby centurion Josh Bekhuis moved from the Highlanders to the Blues for the 2015 season and hasn't looked back.

30-year-old Bekhuis is as consistent as they come. He holds together the Blues lineout and was voted the Blues fans' player of the year in 2015.

He will head to France to play with Lyon next year.


Augustine Pulu

Halfback Augustine Pulu will join the Blues next season looking for more playing time after being stuck behind Brad Weber and Tawera Kerr-Barlow at the Chiefs.

He will link up with Tana Umaga, the man who coached him at provincial level with Counties Manukau.

Pulu is a two cap All Black and will likely take the Blues 9 jersey ahead of Billy Guyton and Bryn Hall.

Sonny Bill Williams

He has won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs and will be looking to add another to his collection next season with the Blues.

Only time will tell.

- NZ Herald

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