Wellington - All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu has been suspended following a positive drugs test, New Zealand Rugby has revealed.
Tuipulotu returned to New Zealand before the All Blacks Test against France on their northern hemisphere tour last November for what was described then as "personal reasons."
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) have now confirmed they were notified of a positive test in November and the 24-year-old Tuipulotu was "shocked" by the result.
"A doping control sample provided by Patrick Tuipulotu had, reportedly, revealed the presence of a specified substance listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2016 prohibited list," the joint statement read.
"NZR and NZRPA can confirm that Patrick was shocked by the test result and is working hard to identify the source of the specified substance.
"In accordance with World Rugby Anti-Doping regulations, Patrick remains provisionally suspended pending resolution of this matter."
Fairfax Media reported on Monday that it understood the result of a B-sample test was not yet known "and much will hinge on that".
Tuipulotu played against Ireland in Chicago and against Italy in Rome on the end of season tour before returning home for what coach Steve Hansen said was "personal reasons".
The second-row forward has played 12 Tests and is signed with NZR until the end of the 2019 season.