Blues lock 'surprised' by fast return for Final

NEWS: Blues captain and All Black lock Patrick Tuipulotu admitted being surprised by how fast he recovered to captain his side against the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Final this Saturday.

The Blues will face the Chiefs at Eden Park in front of an expected crowd of 45,000 to decide a new champion for the 2024 season.

There were fears that Tuipulotu could miss the rest of the Super Rugby season and Test series against England next month with a torn medial ligament injury that he sustained in the quarterfinal win against the Fijian Drua two weeks ago.

"I progressed with the rehab after I turned up on Monday morning and surprised myself with how well I went," he told reporters on Friday.

Tuipulotu got medical clearance to play after testing his knee in the gym and training field. This particular injury can generally take up to six weeks to heal.

"I progressed with the rehab after I turned up on Monday morning and surprised myself with how well I went," said the 32-year-old.

"The medical team checked it out and I saw the physio's eyes light up,"

"It feels pretty unreal, that all of a sudden I am back in the fold and playing in the final,"

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"I had a good pre-season and stayed off the alcohol all season, which probably helped speed things up." he said.

The 43-Test lock stated that if he gets through the Final, he will be available for selection for the Test series against England.

The squad is expected to be named on Monday.

He will captain a strong Blues outfit littered with All Blacks which includes loose forwards Dalton Papali'i and Hoskins Sotutu in the pack and game-breakers Rieko Ioane and Mark Telea at centre and wing respectively.

The Blues are currently on a 15-game winning streak at Eden Park

Chiefs to do it the hard way

The Chiefs on the other hand upset the applecart when they took out the table-topping Hurricanes in their semifinal clash last week and will look to bag the trophy on the road after losing the final to the Crusaders at home last season.

"It would be huge for the fans and us," said Chiefs captain Luke Jacobson.

"The Blues play a pretty direct game, so we know we are going to have to front up physically.

"We are going to have to get stuck into them early."