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Beauden Barrett set to return to New Zealand on long-term deal

By Ned Lester
Beauden Barrett at All Blacks training. Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby has revealed that Beauden Barrett is likely to return to New Zealand shores in time to be eligible for All Blacks duties next year.

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Barrett signed a deal with Toyota Verblitz earlier in the year, a move that many thought may spell the end of his illustrious All Blacks career.

Barrett will play alongside long-time halves partner Aaron Smith at the Japanese club, but while Smith signed on for multiple seasons, Barrett was always keen to keep his options open.

“My agent Warren Alcock is in communication and negotiation with New Zealand Rugby, the Blues and Toyota about my future beyond the Japan One 2024 season,” Barrett said at the time. “I want to give myself time to ensure I make the right decision and once I gain clarity on that I will be able to give an update on what my future looks like beyond 2024.”

Fast forward to Thursday and a deal seemed to be near.

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Chris Lendrum, New Zealand Rugby’s general manager, professional rugby and performance, said: “Nothing is quite finalised. But, that’s certainly the intention.”

Ardie Savea and Sam Cane are also signed in Japan for the upcoming season, returning in time for international duties.

“He’s certainly got the opportunity to come back here, that’s what he wants to do,” New Zealand Rugby men’s head of high-performance Mike Anthony said.

“Like some of the other senior pros, there’s a chance to head away and get a sabbatical and then come back in.”

The All Blacks have a two-Test series with England in their first challenge of the new year, a shortened edition of the usual three-match tour due to rest after a demanding World Cup campaign.

“If we we end up in a position where he plays at Toyota and then is returning to New Zealand Rugby for the second half of 2024 then yes, he would be available for the All Blacks in 2024,” Lendrum said.

“That’s on the basis he signs a multi-year contract.”

Barrett and Smith boast the second most and most caps for any All Black back respectively, making their combined presence for Toyota an almighty piece of recruitment.

Also heading to Japan on a multi-year deal is All Black pivot Richie Mo’unga, the seven-time Super Rugby champion has forgone national eligibility for a three-year deal that will set up his family, but frees the playmaker up for a new contract the year before the 2027 Rugby World Cup. Mo’unga will be 32 years of age at that time.

Barrett’s return would offer incoming All Blacks coach Scott Robertson a veteran presence in the flyhalf stocks with the ability to also cover fullback.

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Barrett will be 36 years old when the 2027 Rugby World Cup rolls around, far older than any recent first five-eighths to feature for the All Blacks but still two years shy of Johnny Sexton’s age while representing Ireland at this year’s fixture in France.

Dane Coles played in the tournament in France as the All Blacks’ second-oldest player ever on the cusp of 37.

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17 Comments
E
Easy_Duzz-it 217 days ago

🤦‍♂️🤣 all the people that think razor would waste a pick on this drop kick should slap themselves … this guy was compared to Carter & Cullen , he lived up to neither of them … wasted mounga on a dual play maker system that never worked.

This guy won’t even make the bench 🤣🤣

J
Jon 218 days ago

He is the least valuable Baratt brother…why a long-term deal? Senior citizen employee tax credit?

N
Nickers 218 days ago

It would be great to see him back at 10 behind a decent forward pack and with Jordie outside him. His prime years were lost under Foster, as were Mo’ungas. It’s no coincidence that Mo’unga was finally able to translate some of his SR form to the big stage once Jason Ryan was involved and he had a genuine ball carrying threat outside him.

ABs or not it will be great to have him back in the country. I’d rather his knowledge and experience was being shared with NZ’s up and coming talent rather than France, Ireland, or Englands

G
G 219 days ago

No need - your time has passed (watch final and 2019 semifinal for your own self assessment)

P
Pecos 219 days ago

Under Razor this could be dynamite. If so, I’d expect BB would be a lock in for 1st 5/8th. Razor has that knack.

j
johnz 219 days ago

Sounds like a case of NZR throwing money at an aging star. Let’s face it, BB’s stocks have been on the wane ever since he moved to Auckland. He has developed more and more tunnel vision while his unbelievable pace seems to be escaping him. I hope NZR didn’t burn too much of the Silver Lake dosh to keep him, it’s sad to see younger players with lot’s of upside head overseas while NZR throws cushy deals at blokes in their twilight.

F
Fritz 220 days ago

He played two years at fly-half, those two years world player of the year, so as a 1st Bok fan, 2nd AB fan please make him fly-half again, at this moment you have a fly-half that is average under pressure.

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