Tuipulotu signs on
The Blues may lose captain Patrick Tuipulotu for the next Super Rugby season but are delighted the All Blacks lock has signed a long-term deal until 2025. Tuipulotu’s move to Japanese club Toyota Verblitz in 2022 on a potential $1.4 million deal was flagged by Stuff last weekend, and New Zealand Rugby announced yesterday that the 28-year-old has now agreed to a contract extension after his sabbatical. Tuipulotu, who has played 38 tests since 2014, will head to Japan later in the year after the All Blacks campaign, miss the Super Rugby season next year and return to New Zealand mid-year.
■ Former All Black Waisake Naholo has signed with Canterbury for their upcoming NPC campaign with an eye on returning to Super Rugby. One of nine new players named in the red-and-blacks’ 32-man squad, Naholo trained with his troublesome right-knee strapped during the team’s training session in Christchurch yesterday. The 30-year-old wing played the last of his 27 tests in 2018, before leaving New Zealand for London Irish at the end of 2019. Naholo was released by London Irish after an injury plagued stint limited him to just four appearances across two campaigns.