Nonu dismisses Montpellier link

New Zealand international Ma'a Nonu has dismissed suggestions he is to join Montpellier - and denied he has been in talks with any French club.

New Zealand international Ma'a Nonu has dismissed suggestions he is to join Montpellier - and denied he has been in talks with any French club.

But the All Black inside centre did nothing to dispel the idea he will leave New Zealand after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Nonu, who has played 56 Tests for the All Blacks and more than 100 games for the Hurricanes, has yet to commit to the New Zealand Rugby Union beyond his current contract which ends this year and said he was still weighing up his options.

"I don't know who writes these stories because it's all up in the air," he said. "People do want to know what the players are doing next year.

"Most of the guys in New Zealand have spent a third of their lives in New Zealand playing rugby. It's important where they want to go.

"You ask any rugby player who is at the crossroads of their career and it's hard. You are comfortable playing for the Canes or the Blues and when you sign overseas it is a new challenge."

Nonu said he expected to make a decision within the next couple of months and that whether a person chose to stay in New Zealand or venture abroad depended on that individual's circumstances.

"It's where you are at in your career, if you've got a family or maybe you are single. It depends on after," he said.

"Maybe you want to sit on the beach in the south of France or you want to play 40-odd games in the UK or go to Japan and eat sushi all day.

"I've played here for a long time. In the next couple of months I'll think about what I want to do. I'll give you guys [the media] a text when I know!"

What is more certain is that the imposing midfielder will return for the Hurricanes this weekend after recovering from a fractured right eye socket suffered against the Sharks last month.

"I'm pretty pleased to be back. I've got cleared two weeks early, hopefully to play," he added.

"I think I'm 100%. It's just getting my technique right in the ruck and not getting my face in the way," he joked.

Half-back Piri Weepu is also off the casualty list after overcoming a bruised calf which delayed his return from a broken and dislocated ankle last week. He is likely to make his comeback against the Highlanders via the bench.

Centre Conrad Smith (broken nose) is also a possibility to return, although that depends on getting the all-clear from the specialist tomorrow.

"[Conrad) is pushing as hard as he can to play," said coach Mark Hammett. "I think the specialist is pushing back the other way so he may have another week [off].

"But we did a bit of contact [on Tuesday] and he was involved in all of it. We'll see what [the specialist] has to say."

Weepu's return is timely given the four-week ban handed down to Tyson Keats yesterday for his dangerous tip tackle on Alby Mathewson during the loss to the Blues.

Hammett said the Hurricanes were unlikely to appeal against the decision. "But we're disappointed that he ended up getting four weeks.

"He's obviously very apologetic. He was upset over the weekend. Now he is just focusing on what he can do for us in terms of preparation for the four weeks while he is not available."

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