Experienced prop Pauliasi Manu will move back home to play for the Blues in the Investec Super Rugby Championship next season.
The Tongan-born Aucklander was called in to the All Blacks as stand-by cover late in their successful Rugby World Cup campaign last year.
Manu, 28, who played 50 games for Auckland between 2008 and 2014, returned last week from a long term Achilles injury to play for Counties-Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup.
He played five games for the Blues in 2011-2012 before being picked up by the Chiefs as a replacement in 2013. Manu went on to play 49 times for the Chiefs over the next four seasons.
“Pauliasi is another local Auckland boy coming home. He has an excellent work ethic, he is strong at his core duties and a powerful runner in open play,” said Umaga. “He will fit our game plan well and will also be a mentor for some of our young front rowers in the club.”
Manu said he and his family were looking forward to return to Auckland.
“To come back to Auckland is a big plus for me and my family,” Manu said. “I want to do my best to help the Blues have a successful season on and off the field next year.
“I really enjoyed my rugby under Tana Umaga at Counties Manukau and I am looking forward to being part of the Blues again.”
Manu joins fellow Counties-Manukau players Jimmy Tupou, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu and Sonny-Bill Williams in the 2017 Blues line-up.
The Blues will name their full squad in late October.
Photo: Pauliasi Manu in the All Blacks training gym at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.