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All Black sheds light on 'friendly fire' leading to broken jaw

REACTION: All Black lock Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu said Monday he expects to be sidelined for around 10 weeks with a broken jaw, missing the start of the Super Rugby Pacific season this month.

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The lock forward suffered the injury late in the first half of a 43-7 pre-season victory over Japan’s Sungoliath in Tokyo on Sunday.

The 31-year-old, who has played 43 Tests for New Zealand, will need surgery after his jaw was broken by an accidental clash of heads with a teammate.

“It was a bit of friendly fire. I went up for a line-out, as I came down, I got caught on the side of the jaw,” he said after returning to Auckland on Monday.

“I felt it straight away, my head was ringing.

“It’s not ideal.”

Tuipulotu said he expects to be out for “between eight to 10 weeks”, extending his wait for his 100th Super Rugby appearance.

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“This is a tough blow for Patrick, especially early on in the season,” said Blues head coach Vern Cotter.

The Blues will play the Eagles in Japan on Saturday in their second pre-season friendly.

They will start the Super Rugby season against Fijian Drua in Whangerei on February 24.

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