Newly recovered Jordie Barrett has had a cheeky dig at big brother Beauden after the Blues superstar signed a lucrative one-year deal with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath next year.
Beauden confirmed the news on Friday morning which will see him miss next year’s Super Rugby season to play for the Tokyo based club before returning to New Zealand for the 2021 international season to see out the rest of his contract with NZ Rugby until 2023.
When asked about his brother’s Japanese deal, Jordie said it wasn’t a surprise but joked about how the news left him in an awkward position.
“Wasn’t too much of a surprise to me,” he said. “We chat quite a bit. I just say good on him.
“Well played on his behalf. He’s enjoying playing golf in Queenstown while I have to front and do his media.
“He’s his own man. I guess we talk a little bit and it’s often un-footy related and he makes his own decisions.”
Jordie said he has no issues with player sabbaticals like the deals taken by Beauden and All Black teammate Brodie Retallick.
“I think it’s positive. They’re guys that spent eight or nine years plus playing in New Zealand rugby and plying their craft here and have done so much for New Zealand rugby in general.
“So I don’t see any harm in them popping over for a few months and coming back. If they’re good enough to be picked, they’ll be picked. That’s just the way it is. So I say fair play.”
Beauden, whose reported $1.5m deal will make him one of the highest-paid players in the world, is currently having a short break with the Blues on a bye this weekend.
Jordie, on the other hand, is back in action for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs on Sunday, his first game of the revamped Super Rugby Aotearoa season after recovering from a shoulder injury.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s a different feeling preparing for a game at the end of the week. I’ve got a lot of excitement and the weather is good going back up to Hamilton so can’t complain.
“The most frustrating thing was I trained all COVID and then come back and hurt my shoulder tackling a tackle bag. That was very frustrating. But we haven’t been too far away. I feel like our group is in a pretty good spot at the moment and we’re not far off.”
Jordie may also have a decision to make about his own future after signing a deal last year with NZ Rugby until 2022 with a clause that allows him to switch Super Rugby teams, which prompted some reports of a potential move to the Blues.
However, he says he’s currently focused on the Hurricanes and getting back to his best after recovering from his injury.
“That’s open. That’s always been open. That’s what was in my contract. But I’m not in any discussions at the moment.
“I’ve just been trying to rehab my shoulder and get back and play some footy. I’m super excited about that so just can’t wait to get up and play in Hamilton.”
Meanwhile, the Chiefs will be without All Black Anton Lienert-Brown who is ruled out of this weekend’s crucial clash with a mystery concussion probably picked up during their loss to the Crusaders.
“We’ve gone back and looked at it, and he just said he can’t remember in the game where he’s got a knock,” coach Warren Gatland said.
The Hurricanes and the Chiefs will both look to get their first win of the season at 3.35pm on Sunday in Hamilton.
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