'He refuses to miss a training' - Tana Umaga praises Ma'a Nonu's work ethic

Blues assistant coach Tana Umaga has praised Ma'a Nonu's work ethic on and off the field, saying his former teammate continues to surprise him.

The 37-year-old has been a regular starter in the midfield for the Blues this Super Rugby season.

Umaga says the 103-Test All Black has been putting in the hard yards at training.

"From where he was and to where he is now, it's not just luck that he has been able to… when we talk about backing up week in and week out, he's been doing that for a long, long time," said Umaga.

"You'll see that he is one of the first in the morning preparing his body and he is the last to leave in preparing his body.

"There is no days off with him in terms of that, that's hopefully what our boys are learning off him around the ability to back up from week to week, training to training."

Nonu and the Blues will have a tough job on their hands as they line up against the top of the table Crusaders on Saturday in Christchurch.

"He hasn't missed a training, he refuses to miss a training. And he refuses to wear a bib where it says you are not allowed to have contact," Umaga said.

"Because he just wants to show it is not an age thing, age is just a number, but if you look after yourself well enough that's how your performances come.

"It's also how you grow the ability to keep in there."

Umaga says he knows the Crusaders will be hurting following off field scandals surfacing earlier this week during their tour in South Africa, but said all his side can do is focus on themselves.

"For us, as cliché as it is, we just focus on what we can do, we go down there to try and achieve an outcome that we have been working hard for.

"It's not going to be easy, we've got enough to focus on - on ourselves."

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (c), 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: 16 James Parsons, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Lua Li, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Levi Aumua.

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The assistant coach of the Blues says the 37-year-old continues to surprise him on and off the field. Source: 1 NEWS

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