The Munster management have confirmed that Rua Tipoki will return to his native New Zealand when the season ends after his struggle with injury looks to have ended his Munster tenure.
Speaking about his decision, Rua Tipoki expressed the hope that he might get back to playing ‘some footy’ in an effort to help the Munster squad achieve their season’s goals.
“I have had ongoing problems with my hamstring since October 2008, and despite the best efforts of the medical and fitness staff I have struggled to regain full fitness,” Tipoki explained.
“I initially suffered an injury to my hamstring during the Montauban game last October but managed to return for the epic encounter against the All Blacks.
“Frustratingly, after recovering from a knee injury in that game, I suffered another hamstring injury against Ulster at Thomond Park in January.
“I have since suffered recurrences of the same injury which have meant I have not yet been able to play in competitive games, despite being able to take a limited part in training.
“I have, in conjunction, with the medical staff consulted with the top specialists in the country and undergone numerous tests over the past couple of months in an attempt to resolve the injury.
“It has been a deeply frustrating time for me as I would dearly love to get back to helping the boys achieve the goals that they’d set out at the start of the year.
“At the minute however, I am not up to the level of fitness required and would not like to do the jersey or the team an injustice by taking the field when I know I can’t give my all.
“Everyone in Munster has been really supportive and understanding. I appreciate their encouragement and just wish I could maybe repay them by getting back and playing a bit of footy.
“This time in Munster has been brilliant for me and my family, and while there is only one place you can call home, we will leave Munster with some great memories and having made lifelong friends,” he added.
Tipoki, a former New Zealand Maori captain, has played 29 times for Munster during his two-year spell with the province, gaining a Heineken Cup winners’ medal and winning many admirers for his centre partnership with Lifeimi Mafi.