Beauden Barrett
CHOFU, JAPAN - OCTOBER 19: Beauden Barrett of New Zealand kicks the ball ahead during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Quarter Final match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Tokyo Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Auckland Blues star back Beauden Barrett has announced he’ll take a year off from Super Rugby to play in Japan, with the contract thought to be worth nearly £800,000. 

Beauden Barrett bids goodbye!

Beauden Barrett, who signed a four year deal with the NZRU last year will miss the 2021 Super Rugby season to play with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan.

The contract is expected to be worth £780,000 and he’ll return in time for the international calendar later in the year where he’ll see out the remainder of his contract.

“For me it made sense to go next year and then have two years back with the Blues and hopefully the All Blacks in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup,” said Barrett. “My wife and I are excited to head to Japan next year. It is an appealing place for a young family and comparatively safe in health terms.

“The Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa competition has been an amazing experience. It’s been brutal and demanding which is what you expect when New Zealand teams play each other.

“I’m loving every minute of it and having such big crowds turning out has been fantastic.”

The move comes following a good run of form from the Blues who sit second in the domestic revised Super Rugby competition.

The Japan Top League was one of the victims of the Coronavirus pandemic, with the 2020 season canceled, and the draw for the impending season still to be confirmed. Dan Carter was playing for the Kobelcco Steelers, with Sam Whitelock opting for a similar sabbatical clause to the one that Barrett just confirmed.

Beauden Barrett resigned to his NZR contract extension in 2018, with conditions of a sabbatical included. Those clauses also saw Barrett delay the start for his Blues season, before the Covid19 lockdown halted his debut until the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition [and Dan Carter’s signing with the Blues].

Maybe he saw the young understudy Dan Carter come in, and wanted to make hay whilst the sun shone?….

Click here for the official NZR release here.

 

“Main photo credit”

Beauden Barrett

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