Steven Luatua

Bristol's Steven Luatua OUT of Friday night's Challenge Cup final in France

The New Zealander is awaiting the birth of his child back in Bristol and although there was a contingency plan organised to fly the All Black out on Friday morning, it was decided with his partner Olivia still in labour that Luatua would remain at home with the full support of the club.

Director of rugby Pat Lam said on the club website: “Steven was desperate to play and be with his teammates so we made sure we gave him every opportunity to get here because he is such an important leader for our team.

Steven Luatua interested in making a return to the Blues

The 15-cap All Black left Kiwi shores in 2017 to venture north and take up a contract with the Bristol Bears; a move he hoped would add to his game.

Still just 28, there’s plenty of life left in Luatua’s career and speaking to Sky Sport’s Breakdown show he said he still had a goal to achieve with the Blues in Super Rugby.

“One of my goals was always to come back and play 100 games for the Blues – I think I’m 20 or 30-odd short so that’s a couple of seasons,” he said.

Steven Luatua staying with Bristol

Luatua has signed a two year contract extension with the Bristol Bears, keeping him with the Premiership club until 2021.

The 27-year-old joined the club for the 2017-18 season from the Blues and has made 23 appearances.

"It's a privilege to commit my future - it's an environment that is getting the best of out of me," Luatua said.

"There is huge ambition at the club to keep progressing and getting better, I'm excited to be a part of that."

Luatua wants back in black

Speaking to the Daily Mail Luatua revealed joining English club Bristol last year was incredibly difficult, mainly because of his ambitions to play for the All Blacks in the British and Irish Lions tour.

Luatua wasn't selected for the All Blacks during the tour because of his new signing despite being a standout performer in the back row.

"Giving up the All Blacks jersey, especially ahead of the Lions tour, was the hardest part," Luatua said.

"I do have ambitions to play at a World Cup, maybe in 2023."

Luatua, Whitelock to face ABs

And while we're at it we might throw in rising young wings Vince Aso and George Bridge as well, with Saturday's festive clash (early Sunday NZT) handed a predictable Kiwi flavour with the announcement of the Baabaas squad for the Killik Cup clash.

With the Baabaas coached by a pair of New Zealanders in Deans and his one-time Crusaders flanker Scott Robertson, there was always going to be a fair smattering of Kiwis in the mix for the clash against the All Blacks, and one to follow against Tonga at Thomond Park on November 10.

Steven Luatua sorry for wild red card tackle as Chiefs conquer Blues in Hamilton

The Blues were their own worst enemies as the Chiefs beat them again with a resounding six-try victory in Hamilton.

Steven Luatua has nobody to blame but himself and he knows it, after his red card just before half-time reduced the Blues to 14 men in Friday night's Battle of the Bombays clash, which the Chiefs won 41-26.

Scandal over pre-match information leak at Steven Luatua's new club

One of the side's players, Luke Arscott, had tactical information about the Sale Sharks' defence revealed to him by his brother Tom, a winger for the Sharks, the night before the two teams faced each other in January. Sale lost 24-23.

Tom Arscott's contract was terminated on January 20 after disciplinary action and Sale triggered an investigation by the Rugby Football Union.

Luatua's move to Bristol in the British summer for next season was announced on Tuesday.

Luatua heading to Bristol

RNZ reports the 25-year-old Blues player is expected to leave after the Super Rugby season.

Luatua has played 15 Tests for the All Blacks, debuting in 2013 and playing his most recent game against Italy on the 2016 end-of-year tour.

He will link up with his former Blues coach Pat Lam at Bristol.

"The signing of Steven - beating off competition from a number of high profile clubs - underlines the ambition of Bristol as well as Stephen Lansdown and the board's desire to drive us forward," head coach Mark Tainton told website