New Zealand lock Tuipulotu tests positive

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Patrick Tuipulotu.

Patrick Tuipulotu. (Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu tested positive last year to a banned substance, the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said on Sunday.

New Zealand Rugby issued a statement confirming the positive test after it was first reported in local media.

NZR did not say what substance Tuipulotu had tested positive for but said the adverse result was from a sample taken late last year.

Tuipulotu abruptly left his team and returned home before a test match against France in Paris last November. His departure was described as being for "personal reasons."

"Patrick was shocked by the test result and is working hard to identify the source of the specified substance. In accordance with WADA regulations, Patrick remains provisionally suspended pending resolution of this matter," NZR said in Sunday's statement.

"Further to these regulations, NZR and NZPRA are bound by strict confidentiality obligations."

The 24-year-old Tuipulotu has played 12 tests for New Zealand since making his international debut in 2014 and is contracted through to 2019.

He had surgery on both hips in 2015 to correct a birth defect and was unable to play at the 2015 World Cup, won by New Zealand.

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