Munster have confirmed that Maori center Rua Tipoki will be returning home to New Zealand at the end of the season.

Tipoki has proved to be a valuable player for Munster and was key in the team’s journey to Heineken Cup glory in 2008.

But the former New Zealand Maori captain has had an injury-plagued campaign and, despite playing in the early part of the season, he has not featured for Munster since January.

"I have had ongoing problems with my hamstring since October, 2008 and despite the best efforts of the medical and fitness staff I have struggled to regain full fitness," Tipoki lamented.

Tipoki appeared in Munster’s epic clash against the All Blacks but was forced off through injury in that game also.

“I have in conjunction with the medical staff consulted with the top specialists in the country and undergone numerous tests over the past couple of months in an attempt to resolve the [hamstring] injury," the Kiwi explained.

“It has been a deeply frustrating time for me as I would dearly love to get back to helping the boys achieve the goals that they'd set out at the start of the year.

“This time in Munster has been brilliant for me and my family," he continued, "and while there is only one place you can call home, we will leave Munster with some great memories and having made lifelong friends.”