New Zealand Rugby and the Blues are delighted to announce that lock Patrick Tuipulotu has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby through until the end of the 2019 season.
Twenty-three year old Tuipulotu, who played seven Tests for the All Blacks in 2014 and 26 games for the Blues, has been recognised for his high work rate and incredible physicality. At 1.98m tall and 120 kilograms, he uses his strength, size and natural talent to put his teams on the front foot.
Tuipulotu burst on to the professional scene in 2014 in spectacular style: in his first year of Investec Super Rugby, he became the starting lock for the Blues and earned All Blacks selection, making his Test debut against England in June that year. He missed All Blacks selection last year after undergoing double hip surgery and returned to the Blues for the 2016 season.
Tuipulotu said: “I am really enjoying my rugby at the Blues and I am learning a lot playing under Tana. I like being based at home right now. Next year the Lions are coming to New Zealand which would be great to be part of. Injury meant I missed a chance to play in the World Cup, and so long term I would love to be at the next one.”
Tuipulotu joins current All Blacks Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick, Dane Coles and Aaron Smith who have all committed to New Zealand Rugby through until 2019, while a bulk of leading players have also committed through until 2018 and 2017.
Blues Head Coach Tana Umaga said: “We are very happy to secure Patrick for the long term as we see him as an integral part of this club’s future. He’s from here and is very proud to represent his home town. He’s a committed and motivated young man whose actions on and off the field will help our development players strive to be better, and that in turn will help us succeed as a team.”
All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen added: “Patrick re-signing through to 2019 is great news. He’s a player who we feel has huge potential and we are expecting him to play a major role for the All Blacks over this period and even beyond. He was unfortunate last year with his injury to miss the Rugby World Cup but clearly has the desire, drive and passion to get to the next one.”