Blues request for Piutau denied

Date published: May 20 2015

All Blacks utility outside back Charles Piutau will not be allowed to play half a season for the Blues next year because he didn't meet New Zealand's criteria for consideration.

Piutau, who has signed a contract to play in Ulster next year, had sought to play half the 2016 season for the Blues before heading to Europe.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Officer Steve Tew said: "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.

The Piutau decision was not a new one and had been made some time ago.

Tew said the policy in place was largely to reward those players who had shown some loyalty and longevity to New Zealand Rugby.

Piutau would be out of New Zealand for three years and the view was that it was better to let another player use his jersey to develop.