Beauden Barrett has signed a new four-year contract with New Zealand Rugby that will see him switch franchises from the Hurricanes to the Blues.
The All Blacks fly-half will make the switch after he takes a prolonged break from the game following the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. he will join the Blues in the middle of the 2020 Super Rugby season.
This is a regular practice for New Zealand who will do the same for Beauden Barrett as they did for McCaw and Carter in the past. The system allows the star kiwis to freshen up between World Cup cycles.
The fly-half is apparently "stoked" for the move after there was understandably significant interest from abroad to secure his signature.
“This is obviously a massive decision for me and my wife Hannah and we’re really looking forward to the next chapter of our lives,” he said.
“The Hurricanes will always be a huge part of who I am.
“The Hurricanes environment and style of rugby they play has helped me become the player I am today, and I’ll be leaving some very good mates.
“Wellington has been my rugby base for many years and university base for Hannah and we’ll always have fond memories of living there.
“Home for us now is Taranaki and Auckland and home and family are immensely important to both of us."
According to reports in New Zealand media Beauden might not be the only member of the Barrett family going to the Blues. Big little brother Jordie has been linked with a move to the Blues too. Jordie is out of contract with the Hurricanes at the end of 2019.
Despite the significance of Barrett's move north, he was keen to focus on the imminent International action.
“I’m also enthusiastic about the new challenge I’ll get with the Blues over the next four years. They’re a team on the rise, I like the way they play and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.
“While I’m looking forward to what the future holds, right now my focus is on the international season ahead with the All Blacks.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen added: “It’s fantastic news for the All Blacks and obviously for the Blues as well and we congratulate Beaudy and his wife Hannah on his decision to stay in New Zealand.
“He’s one of the best players in the world, a leader in our team and has been involved in numerous successful campaigns, from Rugby World Cups to Bledisloe Cups, and I believe he’s going to get even better.
“Knowing he will be here through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup is massive for the All Blacks as they move into a new phase post-2019.”
New Zealand get their Rugby Championship underway on July 20th against Argentina in Buenos Aires. While the crucial first game of the All Blacks' World Cup defence will be against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21st.