All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick has signed a new deal with New Zealand Rugby at least until 2023 with a stint in Japan and an extended break included.
According to the contract signed, the 28-year-old will head to Japan to feature in the Top League in 2020 and 2021 with an extended break in between. Following which Retallick will return back to New Zealand in May 2021 and will feature in Super Rugby until the end of the 2023 season.
Retallick said the decision was made to prolong his career and was thankful to the board members of New Zealand Rugby and Chiefs for supporting the move.
“It has been a big decision to make, but I’m grateful to be able to have the opportunity to head over to Japan and experience not just the rugby but for my family and to be immersed in another culture,” Retallick told the All Blacks website.
“I’ve been playing high-octane rugby with the Gallagher Chiefs and All Blacks since 2012, and while I’ve loved every minute of it and my workload has been managed well, I’ve decided to give my body a break from the New Zealand game, so that ultimately I can extend my career here.
“I’m lucky enough to work with a great group of people in both the Chiefs and All Blacks – they’re two teams I love to play for – so I look forward to returning in 2021.”
Retallick made his debut for the All Blacks in 2012 and has gone on to play 75 Tests including six games in their victorious 2015 World Cup campaign.
“Having Brodie commit through to the next Rugby World Cup in 2023 is fantastic news for him, his wife Niki and their family, along with New Zealand Rugby," said New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.
“Whilst there’s a playing sabbatical during that time – and Brodie will no doubt be missed – it also gives the future All Blacks coaches the opportunity to build even more depth in that position.
“I congratulate NZR on being inventive in their contracting process, as there would have been many offers for him to leave permanently.
“Brodie is one of the best locks to ever play the game, if not the best, and has given his all for the All Blacks jersey year in year out. Under this arrangement he’ll extend his career in New Zealand, which is great for everyone.”