All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu has been cleared of doping charges.
Last November, Tuipulotu was sent home from the end-of-season tour of All Blacks after he tested positive for an unspecified banned substance. The team at the time said he had departed for “personal reasons”.
In a statement, New Zealand Rugby said the test result is negative and, as a result, Patrick’s provisional suspension has been lifted with immediate effect. NZR added Patrick Tuipulotu is now cleared to return to rugby immediately and also commented that World Rugby have been informed and has confirmed it will not be taking the matter any further.
Rob Nichol, the New Zealand Rugby Players Association chief executive, said they will find out the reason behind a discrepancy between the ‘A’ and ‘B’ samples tested by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) in Salt Lake City. Nichol remarked this is a matter that SMRTL is investigating and we look forward to their feedback and commented that working with Patrick through the process, we always felt confident that he would be cleared.
Tuipulotu expressed pleasured on being cleared of the doping charges. “I’m pleased the matter is now closed, with my reputation and integrity intact, and I look forward to getting back into training and an exciting year of rugby,” Tuipulotu said.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew welcomed the case closure on the case. “This is an important and welcomed conclusion for both Patrick and for rugby. We are pleased that a robust process has been undertaken, and that he has been fully cleared. “There is no room for doping in rugby, and we take our responsibility to keep the game clean very seriously,” he said.
The Blues open the 2017 Super Rugby season in Melbourne against the Rebels on February 23