Two of Counties Manukau rugby's favourite sons - Tim Nanai-Williams and Baden Kerr -are returning this season for the Counties Manukau Steelers.

"We are rapt to have Tim and Baden back. They are both class on and off the field. Their experience, leadership and enthusiasm are greatly valued. They are two highly passionate and proud Counties players, who are super keen to give back to their clubs and region, which is fantastic," says Steelers head coach Darryl Suasua. Both players last appeared in 2014.

Nanai-Williams, who has some of the most dynamic footwork in the country, is a former Manurewa High School student and a Manu Samoa representative in both the 15s and 7s forms of the game.

A current Chiefs player from the Manurewa club, Nanai-Williams has pulled on the Steelers jersey 56 times and is looking forward to increasing that number having spent the last few seasons playing in Japan for the Ricoh Rams.


The 27-year-old utility back player says: "Counties is home for me, so I am rapt to be back with my family in New Zealand and playing rugby. Playing for Counties has always been special for me and that never diminishes. I am looking forward to reuniting with my Counties family and playing some good footy for our fans."

Baden Kerr who hails from the Karaka club, has recently returned to rejoin the Steelers from a stint in Europe where he played for the Bedford Blues and Saracens.

"I couldn't be more excited to be home playing for the team that means so much to me. My best and fondest memories have been playing for Counties and I can't wait to represent my home province again."

The 27-year-old former Rosehill College student and Blues player has notched up 29 games for the Steelers as first five-eighth, and will replace Piers Francis who has been called into the English system with the Northampton Saints.

New Counties Manukau chief executive Bart Hoggard says: "The re-signing of Tim and Baden is fantastic news for Counties fans because retaining high calibre local players like these two is essential to the continued success of the Steelers.

"I am new to the union but am very aware of the wonderful contributions that both Tim and Baden have made to Counties rugby in previous years and I am excited about watching them play this season. These signings are also an endorsement of the culture and the environment that has been established by the Steelers' coaches and leadership team which allows Counties to attract and retain quality rugby players."