Chiefs lock, Brodie Retallick has announced a new three‑year deal to stay with the All Blacks, but will take an extended break from New Zealand after this year's Rugby World Cup.
TVNZ reports Retallick's new deal commits him through to 2023 but the 28‑year‑old will leave New Zealand after 2019 for two seasons in Japan's Top League before returning in May 2021 to play out the remainder of his deal.
Retallick says it has been a big decision to make, but he is 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.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen applauded Retallick on the new deal.
Hansen says 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.
Retallick has played 75 Tests for the All Blacks since debuting in the black jersey in 2012 as a 21‑year‑old.
In that time, he has been named the World Rugby Player of the Year once after a stellar season in 2014 and gone on to win a Rugby World Cup with the team a year later.
In Super Rugby this week, the Highlanders will take on the Waratahs at 7.35pm Friday while the Rebels will face the Chiefs at 9.45pm Friday.
The Jaguares will host the Sunwolves at 10.10am Saturday, the Hurricanes will take on the Blues at 7.35pm Saturday while the Brumbies will face the Reds at 9.45pm Saturday.
The Stormers will host the Sharks at 1.05am Sunday while the Bulls will take on the Lions at 3.15am Sunday.