Piutau, 25, will swap Ulster for Bristol next summer after signing a two-year deal which is expected to make him one of the best paid players in the world. A title he already holds, earning a reported £500,000 a season in Ulster.
In an interview with the Press Association, Piutau explained why he opted for Bristol and a big payday rather than adding to his 17 New Zealand caps. A decision which did not come lightly.
He said: “First maybe there was an option to go back to New Zealand. After catching up with people in the union (NZRU) it became clear that I didn’t want to go back. So after that it was an easy option for me, to stay in the north.
“Then I started talking to a few clubs, and I found Bristol was a perfect fit for me. I was born and brought up in New Zealand, I love the All Blacks jersey and I love what it stands for.
“But when it comes to a place when you can provide for your family and there’s a better opportunity, to me it was an easy decision.
“I’ll always choose my family over anything else. I’m so thankful for everything that happened in New Zealand, but as well as wanting to provide for my family, I also wanted to experience this side of the world.”
Piutau will link up with his brother Siale, who is already at Bristol having signed a new deal this summer, his best friend Steven Luatua and his former Auckland Blues coach Pat Lam.
He said: “I’m the youngest of 10 siblings so I always wanted to find my own two feet,” said Piutau.
“I always had that family support around me and that’s a good thing but at the same time, coming overseas, it was hard, but I knew it would help me grow as a person."