All Blacks star Beauden Barrett's move to Japan with Suntory Sungoliath confirmed

Barrett's stint in Japan will not affect his Test-match availability in 2021

All Blacks and Auckland Blues superstar Beauden Barrett has signed a deal to play for Suntory Sungoliath next year, the Tokyo-based Top League team said Friday, without disclosing the financial details or terms.

New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett will miss Super Rugby next year and play for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan's Top League, but he will be available for the three-times world champions' worldwide programme, the Blues said on Friday.

Japan is fast becoming the premier choice for some of the top rugby players in the world with lucrative deals in this area.

Barrett last year signed a four-year contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Blues through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France which included an option of a playing sabbatical overseas.

Suntory's coach is New Zealander Milton Haig while England coach Eddie Jones acts as a consultant for the club.

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In the Super Rugby AU, the Reds face the Waratahs at 9:05 tonight while the Rebels takes on the Brumbies at 9:15pm tomorrow.

"I'm loving every minute of it and having such big crowds turning out has been fantastic".

The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year, along with brothers Scott and Jordie, made history last fall when they became the first trio of siblings to start for New Zealand at the World Cup. It is an excellent environment with great coaching and an awesome bunch of dedicated players.

The Blues already boasting options Otere Black, Stephen Perofeta and Harry Plummer at first-five, while All Blacks great Dan Carter is also now with the Auckland side.

Blues head coach Leon MacDonald said his coaching group had always planned without Barrett for the 2021 season. He will be a big loss but that is countered with what he is doing on and off the field this year, and that we get him for two more years.

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