Brodie Retallick will take a two-year sabbatical from New Zealand rugby following this summer’s World Cup in Japan.
The 28-year-old lock will walk away from the All Blacks and the Waikato Chiefs to play two seasons in Japan’s Top League.
Retallick will then take an extended break before returning to New Zealand in 2021, with a view to being part of the All Blacks squad at the World Cup in France in 2023.
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Retallick explained: “I was never interested in going to France and playing that style of rugby.
“Their rugby has definitely improved [in Japan] and there are definitely some tough games over there, but the benefit would definitely be the space in between their seasons where you can clock out for a few months.”