Brodie Retallick is set to end his glittering All Blacks career at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after inking a deal to leave New Zealand.
The 31-year-old second-row has reportedly signed a deal to re-join Japanese club Kobelco Kobe Steelers, according to a report by stuff.co.nz.
Reunion with Dave Rennie
With Retallick entering the twilight of his playing career, he has agreed a three-year deal with Kobe through to the 2025/26 Japan Rugby League One season, according to the report.
The lock was a key member of Rennie’s Chiefs side that won back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013, starting both finals.
All Blacks exodus
Retallick joins a host of All Blacks that will be leaving New Zealand after the World Cup.
Sam Whitelock’s future is yet to be confirmed, but at the age of 35, he is unlikely to extend his career on New Zealand shores after the World Cup, if at all.
Scrum-half Aaron Smith has confirmed that he won’t be around after the World Cup, but whether he will retire or head abroad has not been disclosed.
Crusaders fly-half Richie Mo’unga will also be off to Japan, having signed a deal with Toshiba Brave Lupus, along with Highlanders back-rower Shannon Frizell.
Two-cap back-rower Pita Gus Sowakula has signed a deal to join French side Clermont, and fellow Chiefs star Brad Weber has reportedly signed with Stade Francais.
Retallick’s All Blacks career
Retallick became the 12th All Blacks Test centurion in New Zealand‘s final match of 2022 against England, and having won everything on offer in his career, he will bow out of Test rugby in 2023.
The veteran lock has won seven Tri Nations/Rugby Championship titles, nine Bledisloe Cups and a Rugby World Cup while also claiming the individual gongs for New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year (2014), World Rugby Player of the Year (2014) and the IRP Try of the Year (2018).
He and Whitelock also set a new record for the most number of starts as a lock combination last year, beating the previous mark of 64 set by Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield.