Blues winger Melani Nanai, 25, has signed a three-year contract to continue his rugby career in UK and will play for the Worcester Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership next season.
The elusive-running winger/fullback has earned 48 caps for the Blues since his debut in 2015 and played 35 times for Auckland including in the successful final of the Mitre-10 Cup last year.
The Worcester Warriors are currently leading their pool in the Challenge Cup but are 11th in the Gallagher Premiership with a four win-8 loss record at present. The club has former Springbok assistant coach Alan Solomons as their Director of Rugby.
Nanai said it was a difficult decision but one that he and his wife are looking forward to.
“The Blues gave me an amazing opportunity and I have enjoyed my time at the club. It was a tough decision to leave the club and some great friends and teammates.”
“I am fully committed to the Blues this year and hope we can match the fantastic season I had with Auckland in the Mitre-10 Cup.
“I want to thank my coaches and those who have helped me from my time at Manukau Rugby Club, Auckland and the Blues.”
Blues General Manager High Performance, Tony Hanks said Nanai will prove a real asset to Worcester and the club sorry to see him go.
“Melani has been an excellent club person on and off the field and I am sure will be both popular and successful in the UK. Melani made his name in Auckland club rugby with Manukau Rovers and was drafted to the Blues squad in 2015 after impressing with our Development team and as a key member of our World Club 10s title in Singapore in 2014. He is still young and has the opportunity to set things up financially for his family, learn about the game in a different environment and we hope a return to us in the future.”