All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says it's "wonderful news" to hear Patrick Tuipulotu has been cleared of his doping charge.
The lock was today exonerated of any wrongdoing after he tested positive for a banned substance following last year's clash with Ireland in Chicago, with the B-sample he provided proving clean.
And Hansen, speaking before tonight's Halberg Awards where he has been nominated for the coach of the year award, said the outcome would be a relief to Tuipulotu after a tumultuous period.
"In this case you've got an innocent man, and the effect that can have on him, his family and his reputation is massive," Hansen said. "Patrick said he was really shocked about the whole thing right from the beginning, so he's now been vindicated."
Hansen said he was not alone in initially being perplexed about how Tuipulotu came to test positive, with the All Blacks careful to monitor everything that goes in the players' bodies.
"Guys are very aware of what they're taking and they're asking questions of all the staff," Hansen said. "That's why this one was a bit of a mystery to everybody. Patrick was 100 per cent sure he hadn't taken anything wrong, yet we had an A-sample that said he had. Now the B-sample has come back and vindicated what he was saying."
But rather than taking aim at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City where testing took place, Hansen was more upset at "a few people who have had a shot" at the player in the last week.
"It's disappointing that it can happen but...anything when you're involving humans there will be mistakes made," Hansen said. "The thing that disappoints me more is how people are so quick to make judgement that he must be guilty.
"Sometimes people are a bit too quick to judge, and that's why the process is so important."