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Charles Piutau has no regrets at losing World Cup chance

Charles PiutauHis move to Europe cost him a World Cup winners medal but Charles Piutau reckons he is a better player for it.

Back in April, the full-back rocked New Zealand when he announced he had signed a two-year contract with Ulster to start this July.

Being an integral part of the All Blacks set-up, the 24-year-old was expected to be named in the World Cup squad but Steve Hansen dropped him mid-summer.

Soon after, it was announced that 17-cap Piutau wouldn’t be allowed to play for the Blues in Super Rugby this season so he decided to move to Europe early and sign a short-term deal with Wasps.

He has taken the Premiership by storm and, speaking exclusively to The Rugby Paper before today’s clash with Sale, he revealed he has no regrets about his decision.

He said: “Last summer was a defining moment in my career. The All Blacks coaches told me moving to Europe wasn’t a factor for not making the squad but I know it was.

“As a player I thought I did everything I could to make the World Cup squad and that’s all I could do. I can live with it because I gave it my all.

“I believe I can become a better player playing in the Northern Hemisphere. I really want to learn as much as I can and add to the skill set that I already have.

“I’ll see how I feel at the end of my Ulster contract but the plan is to go back to New Zealand and have another crack at the All Blacks.

“Coming away from an environment I was comfortable in has been the biggest challenge. But I’m really pleased about being able to adapt and adjust so quickly to the weather and the style of rugby in Europe.

“A lot of the credit has to go to the coaches and players at Wasps for helping to make the transition so quickly.”

By moving to the Northern Hemisphere, Piutau thought he had missed the chance to ever play alongside Japan-based older brother Siale.

But centre Siale, 30, who represented Tonga at the World Cup, joined Wasps in February as injury cover and they will take the field together today for the sixth time.

Piutau Jnr said: “Coming here I never thought we’d get to play together but it’s happened and it’s been unreal.”

NICK VERDIER

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