Former All Black to reprise his career in New Zealand after a stint in Japan.
Legendary ex-All Black Mils Muliaina announced Friday that he will leave Japanese club rugby next year to rejoin his former Super 15 team the Waikato Chiefs.
The 33-year-old back, who won 100 Test caps for New Zealand, said he was excited at the prospect of playing rugby in his homeland again after two years with Japan’s NTT DoCoMo.
“I have really enjoyed my time in Japan… but I am grateful for the opportunity to play Super Rugby again in New Zealand for another team that I am passionate about,” he said.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Muliaina’s versatility covering the back three and midfield would enhance the Super 15 defending champions’ depth and experience.
Muliaina’s glittering international career ended when he suffered a shoulder injury against Argentina during the All Blacks’ successful 2011 World Cup campaign.
He said last year that he had always wanted to end his playing days in New Zealand and rugby in Japan lacked the intensity he was used to, admitting: “It’s a stupid thing to say but you kind of miss that feeling that you’ve just been beaten up.”
He will link up with the Hamilton-based Chiefs in February at the end of the Japanese season.
The Chiefs also announced they had signed centre Robbie Fruean, whose Super 15 season for the Canterbury Crusaders was cut short this year when he had to undergo open heart surgery.
The 25-year-old, whose cardiac condition stems from a bout of rheumatic fever in 2009, is back in the gym after a successful operation on a heart valve and on track to return to contact training and playing in early 2014.