NEW signing Melani Nanai has NOT been named in Auckland’s squad for the upcoming Mitre10 Cup, adding extra fuel to speculation over a possible early arrival at Worcester Warriors.

The talented back was expected to feature for the defending champions after ending his time with Super Rugby side Blues.

Speaking in May, Warriors boss Alan Solomons revealed Nanai was being “held back” in New Zealand for the provincial competition which starts on Friday and runs until October.

Solomons said he understood Nanai was on the standby list for the All Blacks’ World Cup squad after an impressive Super Rugby campaign.

However, Auckland announced their 40-man party for the Mitre10 Cup yesterday with Nanai not included.

This announcement comes two weeks after Nanai posted pictures on Instagram suggesting he was on his way to the UK.

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His availability for Warriors is understood to be dependent on whether he is released by New Zealand Rugby Union.

Warriors have yet to provide an update on the 26-year-old’s situation but issued a cryptic Tweet on Saturday, wishing Nanai happy birthday and said: “See you soon.”

There is a possibility Nanai could represent Samoa in the World Cup having been born and raised in the country before moving to New Zealand.

But he is not currently part of their plans.

Should Nanai be given the green light to play for Warriors, it would be a massive boost for the Gallagher Premiership club who return to competitive action next month.

The full-back who is expected to play on the wing for Worcester was a star performer for Blues this season as he racked up 1,240 metres, more than any other player in Super Rugby.

He was also second in the league’s top carries charts with 178 and joint third off-loader with 22.