Last Updated: 11/07/19 11:19pm
Two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett has signed a four-year deal with the Blues starting in 2020.
Barrett has played for the Hurricanes since he made his debut in 2011, winning the Super Rugby title in 2016, but has now signed a new contract with New Zealand Rugby which will see him head to Auckland.
The 27-year-old will take an extended break at the end of the All Blacks’ World Cup defence in Japan, and will link up with his new side midway through next year’s Super Rugby season.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said: “It’s huge for our club. As well as getting a world-class player, our young first-fives will flourish with the opportunity to train and play alongside Beauden, and I am sure he will be an immediate fan favourite at Eden Park.”
Barrett’s deal includes an option to take a short playing break in Japan over the next four years, with any break to be negotiated with NZR and the Blues. However, by signing up to 2023, Barrett has ensure that New Zealand’s best asset will be on home soil for another World Cup cycle.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said: “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.”