Zebre sign All Black World Cup winner Muliaina

Italian Rugby club Zebre have signed New Zealand All Blacks Rugby World Cup winner Mils Muliaina for the 2015/16 season from Irish province Connacht.

The 2015/6 Rugby season will be the Italian Northwest franchise’s fourth season in the Pro 12 League and the European cups.

One-hundred-cap All Black Muliaina joined Connacht from Super Rugby side the Chiefs in 2014 having retired from playing international rugby at the end of the 2011 world cup.

Zebre have announced that they will be led by a new coaching team that will be announced later in the year.

Thirty-three-year-old Muliaina is the first player signed for the 2015/16 season and is the second All Blacks player to wear the Zebre Rugby shirt.

Born in Samoa with a New Zealand passport, Muliaina is fifth in the All Black list for number of appearances, the second to reach the milestone of 100 caps during the World Cup won on home soil in 2011 before retiring from International rugby.

Zebre has signed a one-year deal with the player who will arrive in Parma at the end of the current season, where he currently plays in the ranks of the Irish side of Connacht, who will be Zebre Rugby’s opponents in the last home game of the season.

Muliaina made his debut in Europe last November in the first leg of the PRO12 match against Zebre while next May 9th he could make his first appearance at Stadio Lanfranchi as an opponent.

Prior to the Galway experience he wore the Chiefs jersey on two occasions, and also played for Auckland Blues, winning the 2003 Super Rugby title. The 34 year-old number 15 also played in Japan with the Osaka Red Hurricanes. In his international career Muliaina faced Italy five times, two of them in Italy (Rome 2004 and Milan 2009) scoring three tries.

Zebre Rugby team manager Andrea De Rossi added,”In a World Cup year it is more important to try to build a team where an adequate standard of comptetitiveness is guaranteed when International players are not available for the Club – as was the case during the last Six Nations 2015, with 15 of our players making an appearance in the Tournament.”

“I think there’s no real need to introduce Muliaina, a symbol of rugby itself who took part in three World Cups. I believe that with his immense experience across the back line he will be a significant contributor to the growth of many young players in our squad”.

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