Rejected by the Hurricanes, All Black midfielder Ma'a Nonu has signed with the Blues Super Rugby franchise and re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union for two more years.

Nonu will play for the Auckland-based franchise for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and will also take a playing sabbatical from New Zealand rugby at the end of the year, joining the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan's Top League for several months before returning to New Zealand for next year's Super Rugby competition.

"I'm happy that I'm continuing my career in New Zealand and would like to thank the Blues for giving me the opportunity to join them. I was flattered and grateful to receive offers to play for other teams as well but the Blues was the best option for me and my family and I'm really looking forward to joining them next year," Nonu said.

Nonu and teammate Andrew Hore were discarded by Hurricanes' coach Mark Hammett earlier this month, despite Nonu playing 110 Super Rugby matches for the franchise and 56 test matches for the All Blacks.

There had been speculation Nonu would relocate to Perth, following interest from Force coach Richard Graham. Sharks coach John Plumtree was also reportedly interested in the player.

Nonu's decision to continue playing in New Zealand was welcomed by NZRU chief executive Steve Tew.

"Ma'a is an outstanding, world-class player who has been committed to New Zealand rugby for the best part of a decade, and for him to commit further is fantastic news," he said.

"We have said that we will look to be flexible when it comes to re-contracting our leading players and we think giving him the chance to play in Japan is another example of that flexibility.

"With the rugby season finishing earlier than normal this year we were happy to provide Ma'a with a one-off opportunity to have a Japanese rugby experience without overly compromising his commitment to the Blues," he added.

Blues Coach Pat Lam was pleased to have the 29-year-old on board.

"It's no secret there was a lot of interest in securing Ma'a by teams both locally and around the world. He is a quality player so it's great news for the Blues that he has chosen our team in which to continue his impressive rugby career."

Nonu has joined a growing group of current and recent All Blacks who have recommitted to New Zealand rugby after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Those include captain Richie McCaw and playmaker Daniel Carter, hookers Keven Mealamu, Corey Flynn and Hikawera Elliot, the All Blacks most capped prop Tony Woodcock and fellow props Ben Franks and Wyatt Crockett, locks Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly and Samuel Whitelock, loose forwards Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Daniel Braid, Liam Messam and Victor Vito, and backs Jimmy Cowan, Alby Mathewson, Colin Slade, Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley, Ben Smith, Israel Dagg and Aaron Cruden.

- NZ Herald staff