• All Blacks Lock Patrick Tuipulotu AWOL from Super Rugby

    All the attention and close scrutiny over seemingly mundane details often proves too much with which to deal for star athletes and leads to off-field issues affecting performance, or as is the case with All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu, a simple failure to report for duty with the Blues Super Rugby franchise.

    He is sidelined, in his words, by an “ongoing personal matter.”

    It is apparently an ongoing issue, as he left early from his tour of the Northern Hemisphere November last after playing against Ireland in Chicago and Italy in Rome.

    All the Kiwi international players have been on a 12-week spell between seasons and are due back for Super Rugby for training beginning next week.

    Rob Nichol, the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association spokesman, confirmed that Tuipulotu will be absent, but he was mum as to any specific reasons.

    Tuipulotu’s WeAreTenzing management company was also close-mouthed regarding the reasons behind the All Blacks lock demurring from his obligations, but his absence will be felt by the entire Blues team and their coach Tana Umaga, who had hoped to guide the Blues to the playoffs, from which they have been missing since 2011, three years prior to Tuipulotu’s first appearance in 2014.