All Black Tuipulotu signs up for 2023 World Cup


Wellington (AFP)

All Black lock Patrick Tuipulotu signed a contract extension Monday that will take him through to the 2023 World Cup in France, New Zealand Rugby said.

The powerful second-rower, who will also stay on as captain of the Auckland Blues in Super Rugby, said he had realised during COVID-19 lockdown how much he loved playing rugby.

"I am still young and learning all the time, and I want to establish myself as an international player," said the 27-year-old, who has earned 30 Test caps since his debut in 2014.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster described Tuipulotu's signing as "fantastic news" for the three-time world champions.

"Patrick has grown considerably over the last few years, both on the field as a player and off field with his captaincy and leadership," he said.

Tuipulotu led the Blues to a 30-20 victory over the Wellington Hurricanes in Auckland on Sunday in the first round of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the domestic tournament set up to replace the suspended southern hemisphere club competition.