All Black lock

All Black lock Patrick Tuipulotu MIA for Blues

Tuipulotu toured the Northern Hemisphere with the national side last November, starting against Ireland in Chicago and then against Italy in Rome but the giant second rower returned home a week early, along with injured flanker Sam Cane and utility back Ben Smith, for what coach Steve Hansen described at the time as "personal reasons".

Since then, all the tourists have been serving a mandatory 12-week stand-down between seasons. They are due back with the Super Rugby franchises next week to begin pre-season training.