NZ Herald

Beauden Barrett has been officially unveiled by his new club Suntory Sungoliath.

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The All Blacks star is playing for the franchise in the 2021 Japanese Top League, during a sabbatical which is included in his four year deal with New Zealand Rugby through to the end of 2023.

Barrett’s move north comes immediately after his time in Australia with the All Blacks for the revamped Rugby Championship. Just days after New Zealand’s final test against Argentina, Barrett flew to Japan.

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It was a special moment when he did arrive at the end of last month, as Barrett was finally reunited with his wife Hannah and baby daughter Billie, who he hadn’t seen for over a month.

Representing Suntory Sungoliath, it will be the first time the two-time World Rugby Player of the Year has played outside of New Zealand, spending his entire 10-year professional career to this point with the All Blacks, the Blues, Hurricanes and Taranaki.

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Speaking to the team’s media, Barrett says he’s excited to get stuck into work with his new club.

“Looking forward to meeting my teammates and the coaching staff and the management. Once I get to know them, start training with them and playing, I’ll get to do other things outside of footy. That’s my focus at the moment, be part of my team and getting into my rugby.”

“It’s awesome to be here, Hannah my wife and Billie are inside, they’re so excited. I haven’t seen them in five weeks so I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time with them.

The playing opportunities and cultural change aside, Barrett’s particularly looking forward to the Japanese cuisine.

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“Tonkotsu ramen is number one… basically everything, we love Japanese food.”

Barrett is set to return to New Zealand for the 2021 international test season, and will re-join the Blues for Super Rugby in 2022.

The Top League gets underway on January 16 with Barrett’s Sungoliath taking on Toyota Verblitz, who are coached by Kiwi Simon Cron and have former All Blacks captain Kieran Read, former Highlander Rob Thompson and Wallabies captain Michael Hooper on the books.

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and is republished with permission.

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