World Cup-winning All Black Ma’a Nonu has finally arrived in Toulon after last month’s re-signing with the Top 14 club just hours before their European Challenge Cup semi-final win over 

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The 38-year-old agreed to return to the Stade Mayol as a medical joker to cover the injuries to Anthony Belleau and Julien Heriteau – and the three-time European champions have now announced his arrival in France on social media. 

The Kiwi was pictured clad in a Toulon shirt alongside head coach Patrice Collazo as he arrived at their training facility. He first joined Toulon after the 2015 World Cup, arriving in the French Riviera with his second RWC winner’s medal. 

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He played in the Top 14 for the next two-and-a-half years, returning home at the end of the 2018 season. 

Since then he has played a season in Super Rugby with the Blues in 2019 and the beginning of the 2020 Major League Rugby season with the San Diego Legion before that tournament was abandoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This decision to return to Toulon rather than America is yet another twist in the evergreen career of the 103-cap All Black. Toulon currently sit in seventh place in the Top 14, but with games consistently being postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks, there is no parity on the table in the number of games played. 

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In fact, Toulon’s trip to Bayonne on Friday has already been postponed for this very reason, meaning Nonu’s new side will slip further down the table. However, that postponement will give the double world champion time to acclimatise ahead of a visit from Brive next weekend. 

Majority Toulon shareholder Bernard Lemaitre has described Nonu as the daddy of the three-quarters. “We were looking for a player who could have a very big influence on the squad because we didn’t want to bring in a player just to make the numbers,” he explained recently.

“Our backline is extremely good, but it remains young, so we had the need for an experienced player. We made a list of names, but Ma’a stood out as obvious. Like Sergio Parisse for the forwards, Ma’a Nonu will be the daddy of the three-quarters.”

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