All Blacks star Beauden Barrett will make his long-awaited return to rugby at grassroots level a week before he makes his Blues debut next month.

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According to Newshub, the two-time World Rugby player of the year is set to make his first rugby appearance in five months when he takes to the field for Coastal Rugby Club against fierce Taranaki club rivals Southern on April 4.

It will also be Barrett’s first outing for his home club since 2010, and will act as a precursor to his first match for the Blues against the Hurricanes at Eden Park on April 11.

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The former Hurricanes playmaker, who completed one of the biggest transfers in Super Rugby history when he signed with the Auckland franchise on a four-year deal last July, has been on extended leave from rugby duties following the All Blacks’ failed World Cup campaign in November and is yet to take to the field for his new side.

That break will come to an end in the Taranaki township of Ratohu in a matter of weeks, though, and Coastal chairwoman Janet Fleming said she was proud to have the 28-year-old back.

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“We love the fact that Beauden loves coming home,” she told Newshub.

“The entire Barrett family have long been loyal supporters of Coastal and we always enjoy having them back.”

Fleming said she expected a big crowd for the fixture, given both Barrett’s presence and the magnitude of the rivalry between Coastal and Southern.

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“We’re playing Southern, which is a big derby match for us, so it always draws a large crowd,” she said.

“Having Beauden playing in it is likely to pack the ground out completely.”

Coastal will open their 2020 Taranaki Premier Club campaign against Clifton Rugby Club on March 28, a week before Barrett takes to the field for last year’s finalists.

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