Lions tour: Blues drop lock Patrick Tuipulotu for protocol breach, confirm Sonny Bill Williams will start

  • 07/06/2017
Patrick Tuipulotu. Photo credit: Photosport
Patrick Tuipulotu. Photo credit: Photosport

All Black lock Patrick Tuipulotu has been dropped from the Blues squad to play the British and Irish Lions after turning up late to training.

The 24-year-old, who had initially been named on the reserves bench, didn't notify the team of his lateness and had breached team protocol, it was confirmed on Wednesday morning, ahead of the evening match at Eden Park.

Coach Tana Umaga says the team has strict standards regardless of the status of the player or the occasion.

Tuipulotu has been replaced by Jimmy Tupou.

Meanwhile, Sonny Bill Williams has been confirmed to start at second five-eighth after recovering from a knee injury which kept him out of the Reds match in Samoa.

TJ Faiane will move to the reserves and Melani Nanai drops out of the playing 23.

The Blues, who will become the first Super Rugby team to play the Lions, say they will perform their own haka, He Toa Takitini or the Strength of Many, before the match.

It has been composed and choreographed for the team by Whiria Meltzer and Ruka Makiha.

Blues: Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Stephen Perofeta, Augustine Pulu, Steven Luatua, Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charile Faumuina, James Parsons (capt), Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Reserves: Hame Faiva, Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Jimmy Tupou, Kara Pryor, Sam Nock, Ihaia West, TJ Faiane.