All Blacks lock and Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu has re-committed to New Zealand Rugby, penning a new deal through until the end of 2025 which includes a sabbatical in Japan.
Tuipulotu, 28, has played 38 tests for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2014, and earlier this year captained the Blues to a first Super Rugby title since 2003.
"I am honoured that New Zealand Rugby and the Blues have shown so much faith in me, and this provides security for my family over the next few years to the likely end of my career," Tuipulotu says.
As part of Tuipulotu's new contract, he will head to Japan later this year for a stint in the Japanese Top League, and will miss the 2022 iteration of Super Rugby before returning to New Zealand.
And Tuipulotu adds that the Blues' success in 2021 made it all the more appealing to experience playing overseas, even though he's certain his future is in New Zealand and the black jersey.
"In some ways winning the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title has made my decision easier, because we have got that monkey off our backs at the Blues.
"It was a hard decision because the Blues as a group have developed so well.
"I am excited for the new experience overseas and will be doing my best. Equally, I will be looking forward to returning to the Blues and my home in Auckland.
"I have big goals that I want to achieve both for my country and the Blues in the future."
Tuipulotu joins the likes of Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock and TJ Perenara as All Blacks to take on sabbaticals in Japan, before returning to test duties.
Tuipulotu is expected to confirm which Japanese side he'll join in the coming weeks.