Blues lock Tuipulotu feeling pressure of expectation

All Blacks and Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu says that even though he has only played a few minutes of Test rugby he knows the spotlight is on him now.

Tuipulotu’s physicality and athleticism this Super Rugby season saw him being called up by the All Blacks to play against England and he came on in the 76th minute of the both the second and third Tests.

The lock says that his first two All Black caps have only made him hungry to earn more caps but he says he is aware that he needs to continue to perform so that he maintains his place in the squad.

“The expectation on me is that I have to play another level up now,” Tuipulotu told NZN.

“Week-in and week-out, more people will be watching, so I’ve got to perform.”

Tuipulotu says that he has been helped in the past three weeks by being able to train alongside the likes of Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick

Watching how they work and train has advanced the Christchurch-born 21-year-old’s rugby education.

“You watch these guys play and it’s unreal how good they are in person, and how professional they are, like Sam Whitelock calling the line-out,” he said.

“I try to take a few things off him in that area, and Brodie Retallick in the break-down is ruthless and I learnt a lot from him.”

The Blues are currently 10th on the overall standings and have a mathematical chance of making the play offs.

To remain in contention they will need to end their away losing streak that started in February last year.

Two of their three remaining matches are away from home and all three are against teams that are also still in contention.

They face the Force in Perth this weekend and then the Crusaders in Christchurch and finish at home against the Chiefs.

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