Nonu and Weepu differ on 'homecoming' emotions

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James Mortimer     05 May 2012     Getty Images

The varied views are summed up by that word – homecoming.

Weepu is a proud Wellington man, bred on the fields of Wainuiomata, while he also played at Te Aute College, based in Hawke’s Bay, part of Hurricanes territory.

The halfback, who played 79 Investec Super Rugby games for the Hurricanes, has returned home during the season a number of times in a bid to regain match fitness with his old club side.

He has also visited his family, still based in the capital.

Openly admitting something akin to homesickness, Weepu has met with Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett, and the whisperings that he might be seeking to return to capital have been growing in volume over recent weeks.

Weepu admitted he would likely return – if the Hurricanes wanted him.

Nonu, with 110 matches for the Hurricanes, has never indicated any pang of missing his old home, and while some might think this is the powerful midfielders way of putting on a brave face, the reality is that his often quoted focus on “professionalism” backs up his claims.

No less a proud former Wellington man and Hurricane himself, Nonu is more pragmatic on his views of his move to the Blues.

This is a player who early in his career, despite the obvious and massive promise, was in and out of All Blacks selection, and at times one wouldn’t have been surprised if Nonu had thought about shifting off shore.

Yet his professionalism and desire was indicated as he worked on his game, and transformed from a player with great strengths, and weaknesses such as losing the ball in contact – to the country’s premier second five-eighth, and arguably ended the season in 2011as the premier 12 in the game.

His stance on professionalism was clear as well when he played a stint in Japan, one of the few All Blacks not to take a well-earned rest after the World Cup campaign, with Nonu preferring to immerse himself in what he calls the realities of the game, and play for another club.

He has similar views when asked about any conflicting emotions, and while Weepu might be unable to shake his mixed emotions in playing for the Blues and not the Hurricanes, Nonu coldly states it is the way rugby and professional sport is.

Either way both men will find it challenging in their own different ways, as they try and spark the revival of a Blues team that has not met the expectation heaped on them pre-season – something that ironically occurred in part due to the high profile signings of the former Hurricanes.