WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Shunned veteran Ma'a Nonu has been passed fit to start at inside center for New Zealand in Saturday's opening Rugby Championship test against Australia at Sydney.
Nonu has overcome a calf injury and will play his 80th test on Saturday, though he is the only member of the All Blacks squad without a Super Rugby contract.
The 31-year-old has played Super Rugby for the Wellington-based Hurricanes, Auckland-based Blues and Dunedin-based Highlanders over the past three years. But after leaving the Highlanders at the end of last season the 31-year-old has found no New Zealand team willing to take him on.
Nonu will continue his long-standing midfield partnership with Conrad Smith and will play outside flyhalf Aaron Cruden, who will make his 23rd appearance in place of the injured Dan Carter.