Melani Nanai

Melani Nanai


  • Number: 236
  • Position: Wing / Fullback
  • Born: 03/08/93
  • Height: 194
  • Weight: 90
  • Province: Auckland
  • Provincial Debut: 2013 v Canterbury
  • Blues Debut: 2015 v Cheetahs
  • Blues Caps: 64

Melani came into the Blues via the club system, rather than the usual college or age-group representation, playing for Manukau Rovers under the watchful eye of Frank Bunce.

Not only did this fast and elusive outside back gain a starting spot with the Blues in his first full season, he also won 2015 Rookie of the Year, following on from his 2014 Development Player of the Year award.

He began his high schooling at De La Salle College before returning to Samoa in 2009 at the end of his 5th form. He was a member of the Samoa Under-20 team that competed in the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship. He returned to New Zealand where he was first selected for Auckland late in the 2013 season.

Melani is comfortable on the wing and at fullback, where he has produced some eye-catching displays over the years. He is safe under the high ball and his agile footwork on attack makes him a constant threat with ball in hand.

Melani made his 50th appearance for The Blues in Round 2 of the 2019 season against The Sharks in Durban, going on to feature in every single game of the season.

Melani had his best season in a Blues jersey, regularly chalking up metres and beating defenders. His outstanding form saw him recognised as the Blues Players’ Player of the Year.

At the end of the 2019 season Melani took his considerable talents with him to England to join the Worcester Warriors.