Melani Nanai has found himself among familiar faces in his first week as a Warrior.
The former Blues wing/full-back arrived at Sixways on Monday and was welcomed by three players he knows well from New Zealand.
Lock Michael Fatialofa played alongside Nanai in Auckland’s Mitre 10 Cup-winning side last season, hooker Matt Moulds – one of Warriors’ eight summer recruits – was a Blues team-mate for six years and scrum-half Jono Kitto, who has arrived at Sixways from Northland, was also involved in the Blues set-up.
“Michael was a massive part of me coming here. Last Christmas when I was getting married in Canada I had a year left at the Blues and Michael messaged me asking if I was looking for a contract,” Nanai said.
“We went back and forth and we had a talk and now I’m here.
“This will be the sixth season that I’ve played together with Matt Moulds for six years and I had a Blues pre-season with Jono Kitto. So coming in here has been pretty easy already knowing quite a few of the boys.
“My wife [Bridie] is also from England so that and having Michael Fatialofa here made it an easy decision for me to come here.
Nanai, 26, was voted Blues’ Players’ Player of the Year after a season of consistent eye-catching performances in the Southern Hemisphere and is looking forward to bringing his skills to the Gallagher Premiership.
“The award is probably one of the biggest I have ever got so I was pretty happy to get it,” he said.
“For me it’s all about having fun and running around with the ball. I’m pretty big on defence too.”