New Zealand Rugby
Muliaina confirms Japan switch
June 2, 2011
Mils Muliaina has agreed a two-year deal in Japan © Getty Images
Veteran All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina will head overseas following the Rugby World Cup.
The 30-year-old, who jointly holds the All Blacks Test caps record of 94 with skipper Richie McCaw, has signed a two-year contract with the Japanese club NTT Docomo.
"Once this season is over it will be time for something different," Muliaina said. "Japan itself offers a completely different culture and way of life that my entire family is looking forward to experiencing."
Muliaina follows Joe Rokocoko, Neemia Tialata, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Brad Thorn, among others, in confirming his departure from New Zealand, where he currently plays Super Rugby for the Chiefs and provincial rugby for Waikato.
He made his provincial debut for Auckland in 1999, his Super debut for the Blues in 2001 and his All Blacks debut against England in 2003.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has known Muliaina since he moved from Southland to Auckland as a schoolboy.
"Mils goes to Japan next year with the best wishes of everyone involved in the All Blacks," Henry said. "He is a special All Black, along with Richie McCaw our most capped Test player, an outstanding footballer who is the best in the world in his position.
"Mils is a natural leader, he has tremendous respect of his peers and has helped considerably in the development of younger players."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.