Piutau blocked from Blues in 2016

    2015-05-20 16:04

    Cape Town - All Black utility back Charles Piutau has been blocked from playing Super Rugby for the Blues next season due to his overseas commitment later in the year.

    Piutau, 23, shocked the All Blacks earlier this year when he signed a two-year deal with Irish club Ulster. That contract doesn't start until July, 2016, and the player was keen to play half a season of Super Rugby for the Blues.

    However, the NZRU opted not to allow this as they believe it would stand in the way of players who harbour hopes of representing the All Blacks.

    The All Blacks only pick players who ply their trade in New Zealand.

    NZRU Executive Officer Steve Tew told the All website: "We have a long-standing policy relating to New Zealand eligible players wanting to sign short-term contracts for the length of the Super Rugby season.

    "That player must have played five or more Super Rugby seasons before this can be considered.

    "We obviously treat each case on its merits. However, in terms of Piutau, his case doesn't meet our criteria.

    "He's played fewer than five Super Rugby seasons, and was not available for the full 2016 season. He's also departing New Zealand for some time."

    Tew added that allowing Piutau to play would have sent the wrong message about the level of commitment required of players to participate in New Zealand's competitions. They also didn't want to create a precedent that they wouldn't want to live with.

    Piutau has represented the All Blacks in 14 Tests since making his debut in 2013.

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