All Blacks’ Tuipulotu set for comeback
WELLINGTON: All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu is set to return to Super Rugby after an off-season blighted by a doping scare.
Tuipulotu missed the Auckland Blues’ season-opening win over the Melbourne Rebels last week but has been named in the reserves by coach Tana Umaga for tomorrow’s tough away clash against the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton.
The 24-year-old has endured a nervous three months since he was sent home from the All Blacks’ tour of Europe in November after testing positive for an unspecified banned substance.
But he was cleared three weeks ago following testing of his ‘B’ sample by an accredited laboratory in the United States.
Tuipulotu joins a bench laden with All Blacks, including World Cup-winning loose forward Jerome Kaino who will also make his first appearance of the season.
The starting side is unchanged from the 15 that set up the impressive 56-18 win over the Rebels in Melbourne last week.