WELLINGTON (AFP) – Star fly-half Beauden Barrett signed a contract extension with the All Blacks yesterday that takes him through to the 2023 World Cup and sees him move to the Auckland Blues Super Rugby team.
Barrett, 28, a two-time world player of the year, will also take an extended break after this year’s World Cup and will have the option of a stint playing club rugby in Japan under the new deal.
Retaining the 73-Test playmaker, who could have commanded a huge wage in Europe, is a major boost for the All Blacks, who will face an exodus of talent later this year after the showpiece tournament in Japan.
“There is no doubting how important he is to the All Blacks… he is now a genuine leader in any team he plays and a strong contributor to our off-field responsibilities,” New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said. Barrett will switch his Super Rugby allegiance from the Wellington Hurricanes to the Auckland Blues next year, although he will miss about half the season while taking a sabbatical from the game.
He said he was relishing the prospect of working with the Blues, who finished last in this year’s New Zealand conference and are trying to regain their status as one of the country’s top clubs.