All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett is set to depart for Japan at the conclusion of the Rugby Championship, where he will remain ahead of his 2021 campaign with Suntory Sungoliath.
The Blues utility back along with wife Hannah and new-born daughter Billie will head north after the All Blacks’ last Tri Nations test against Argentina in Newcastle on Saturday.
The match is a must-win for New Zealand if they have any hope of claiming the tournament’s silverware.
As duties on the field dwindle, Barrett’s tasks with his daughter – whom he’s left with Hannah to look after for almost a month now – will increase tenfold.
When asked if he was enjoying his last few nights of uninterrupted sleep, Barrett was quick to respond with a stern “yes”.
“We’ll be going up to Japan together next week so I can’t wait for that. I think we have two weeks in isolation up there, so have got plenty of time to take over and give Han a break. I’m really looking forward to that,” he added.
Barrett’s time upon arrival in Japan will precede his link-up with Suntory Sungoliath. In July the playmaker signed a $1.5 million deal with the Japanese Top League side for 2021, which aligns with his option to take a sabbatical as part of a four-year deal with New Zealand rugby.
The tournament kicks off on January 16, giving Barrett a month and a half to relax in quarantine and with family before his first competitive run out on Japanese soil.
That means he will not play a game in New Zealand until next year’s international season.
Aside from a potentially mesmerising performance this weekend, Barrett will head to the land of the rising sun with a bit of work to do, by his own standards.
“I aim for perfection, but I know that it’s not achievable so I’m always working to be better each day,” he said.
“I’m happy with where we’re getting to at the start of the year with the Blues and excited by the potential we have there. With the All Blacks, it’s been great to have some games, locking up the Bledisloe was huge and we’ve now got an opportunity to win the Tri Nations.
“Just enjoying each day as it comes.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now