All Blacks centurion Mils Muliaina to play inaugural season of PRO Rugby in America
Former All Black fullback Mils Muliaina has signed to play in the first US domestic professional rugby union competition, which is set to kick off in April.
Muliaina, who retired from international rugby with 100 caps to his name after the 2011 World Cup, has signed a one-season deal with San Francisco and will debut for the new team in their opening match in two weeks.
The 35-year-old had been planning to study in San Francisco so he was pleased to have the chance to continue a 17-season professional career following stints in Japan, Ireland and Italy.
“I am delighted and looking forward to being part of rugby history in the States,” Muliaina said.
“From initially just going to study at Life West Chiropractic College in San Francisco to now being able to continue to play rugby, I am grateful that Pro Rugby and Life West Chiropractic have provided me the opportunity to do both.”
The five-team Pro Rugby championship begins on April 17 when San Francisco play Sacramento and Ohio play Denver. San Diego have a first-round bye.
Former All Blacks, Highlanders and Chiefs prop Jamie Mackintosh this week joined the Ohio team while former New Zealand sevens player Orene Ai’i is aligned with San Francisco.
PRO Rugby has also signed Canadian and US internationals. The bulk of the playing base is drawn from the American club game. A US squad mostly drawn from such club teams recently finished second in the first Americas Rugby Championship, beating Canada and Chile, drawing with an Argentina XV and losing to Brazil and Uruguay.