My All Black player of the year? Ma'a Nonu.

Yep, better than other retirees Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter who beefed up their work in the RWC or Julian Savea who must have been nominated for World Rugby honours because of his three try bumping run against France.

Nonu shades Ben Smith, Jerome Kaino and Sam Whitelock on international production which is the criteria used by the WR panel of judges.

Carter was back to his best in the All Blacks 34-17 World Cup final victory but that form did not take shape until Bledisloe II and then deep in this tournament. Maybe the judges want him to win to equal McCaw's three player of the year titles.


Nonu was in stunning form for the Hurricanes throughout Super rugby and his work in the tests leading up to the World Cup and during the tournament was top-class.

When he was absent the All Blacks were scratchy against Samoa and lost to the Wallabies in Sydney. A week later he returned to score two tries as the All Blacks reversed that defeat and he was destructive throughout the World Cup.

He does not have all the offloading magic Sonny Bill Williams provides nor some of the silky touches of Juan Martin Hernandez or the topend speed of others but we are only talking small margins here.

Nonu has a fearsome package of power and finesse, he straightens the line like no other midfield back in world rugby and that bludgeoning ability added to his recycling or offloads makes him a devastating component for the All Blacks.

Those repeat contributions from Nonu are a massive foundation and springboard for the All Blacks. He hits like a cement sack on attack or with his tackling and his conditioning is so superb, he brings a sidestep and pace until deep in every game.

Nonu has to be as physical and resilient as any flanker in his second five eighths role. Whenever he carts the ball forward he travels into the pounding attention of loose-forwards or ankle-clipping opponents.

All Blacks fans celebrate the team's third Rugby World Cup final victory in a 34-17 win over the Wallabies.

But when he gets a chance he hurts. As he did yesterday at Twickenham when he collected a pop offload near halfway to thread through the initial tackles, swerve past Kurtley Beale and outgun Drew Mitchell to the line.

Possession, position and pace were rugby virtues preached by renowned coach Charlie Saxton and Nonu reiterated those qualities yesterday and throughout the year.


This time, unlike his late game breakaway against France, he planted the ball correctly.

Nonu was still pounding the ball ahead and churning through his defensive duties when Nigel Owens whistled full-stop on his 103 test career.

When his sevens duties allow next year, Sonny Bill Williams will target the vacant All Black No 12 jersey with competition from Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Ryan Crotty and others. They will have their work cut out to emulate the volume and quality of Nonu's tests deeds throughout the last dozen seasons.