Chiefs star Retallick re-signs with NZ Rugby

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Retallick's extension runs through to 2023 and it includes a two-year stint in Japan following the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Wednesday.

A 2015 Rugby World Cup winner and 2014 World Player of the Year, Retallick will play in Japan's Top League from 2020 to 2021, with an extended family break in between.

The 28-year-old – who is poised to make his Super Rugby comeback following two months out due to a wrist injury – will then return to New Zealand in May 2021 and play through until the end of the 2023 season.

"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 said.

"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."

A 75-cap New Zealand international, Retallick also re-signed with his home province Hawke's Bay Rugby.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: "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.

"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."