Connacht have pulled off a huge coup with the signing of ex-All Black Mils Muliaina on a one-year deal.
Muliaina, who has 100 caps for New Zealand, will become the first All Black to play for Connacht. He has signed as a player/mentor at the province with the goal of not only playing at fullback, but also helping through the next generation.
Muliaina, 33, played a key role in the All Blacks’ 2011 World Cup triumph and is currently lining up for the Chiefs in Super Rugby. He will bring a wealth of experience to the province and their coach Pat Lam was delighted to announce the capture.
“I don’t think I need to point out how huge it is to have Mils Muliaina as our first All Black coming to represent Connacht,” Lam said. “The second ever All Black and the first ever back to reach 100 Test matches is some achievement but what’s incredible about Mils is the passion and professionalism he brings whenever he plays and I know he will bring that in the Connacht jersey.
“At the age of 33, he still has that hunger to play competitive rugby and before his surgery last month, he showed his quality and ability to keep playing at the top level in Super Rugby. It’s exciting to announce that we’ll have him on our team next season.
“I’ve known Mils for some time now and as well as the wealth of knowledge and experience he will bring to the team, he is first and foremost a great team man and a leader who will contribute enormously to our Connacht culture and help move us closer to our vision.”
Muliana said: “This is an exciting time for me, making the move to Connacht Rugby. I’ve obviously had a good chat with some of the boys at the club – Nathan [White] and Clarkey – and they’ve told me a good bit about the place. But I’ve learnt a lot about what to expect from my discussions with Pat [Lam].
“I have a good understanding about my role and what is expected of me at Connacht. I’ve heard a lot about the talented young backs at the club – guys like Robbie Henshaw – and I’m keen to help anywhere I can, both on and off the field. Being able to play some competitive football while also sharing my knowledge and helping Connacht to achieve their vision played a big part in my decision to move. I expect to learn a good bit from these young guys too and that’s exciting.”
Muliaina is expected to arrive in Galway at the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.
*Original story on ESPN