Auckland and Blues prop Pauliasi Manu's plans of extending a fledgling Super Rugby career with the Melbourne Rebels have been dashed by his failure to pass a medical.
The Rebels released a statement today saying Manu had returned home to Auckland after a pre-employment examination revealed an unspecified medical conditions that required further investigation.
"I'm gutted I'm not going to play for the Rebels next year especially after coming over the first time and meeting the team and management. The environment was positive and their aspirations were high and I was hoping to be part of the journey next year. We'll see what happens in 2014," said Manu, who signed a two-year contract with the Rebels last month.
Manu joined the Rebels after struggling to make an impact at the Blues behind All Blacks loosehead Tony Woodcock, who has switched to the Highlanders for 2013.
The 24-year-old made five appearances for the Blues since making his debut in 2011 and was an integral member of Auckland's provincial squad.
It was intended that Manu would challenge Nic Henderson and Eddie Aholelei for the starting loosehead berth but now Rebels head coach Damian Hill needs to source another prop to complete his roster.
Manu is the second front rower unable to stay in Melbourne following hooker Ryan Tyrell's decision to return home to Perth for personal reasons.
"Both Ryan and Pauliasi fitted into the Rebels environment well and will be missed, however the end result is in the best interest of all involved," Hill said.
"We will remain in contact with Ryan, and hopefully see Pauliasi return to the rugby paddock soon."
The Rebels signed Japanese international Shota Horie as Tyrell's replacement and were assessing propping options both in Australia and abroad.
Manu was one of three Kiwis to join the Rebels for 2013 alongside Wellington flanker Scott Fuglistaller and utility back Jason Woodward.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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