Jordie Barrett's sabbatical season in Ireland creates stir

April 16, 2024 11:07 am

Jordie Barrett [Source: 1News]

Jordie Barrett’s decision to sign for the All Blacks, Hurricanes and Taranaki until the end of 2028 has created a stir in Ireland and wider Europe after it was announced he will play a sabbatical season for Leinster next year.

The powerhouse Irish club has also signed Springboks lock RG Snyman. Such is Leinster’s depth they could boast a starting line-up of 13 Ireland players, plus a Springbok and an All Black.

Midfielder Barrett, 27, is the first All Black to commit to New Zealand Rugby beyond the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

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The 57-Test All Black has chosen to play for Leinster because of his family connections in the area surrounding the club. Leinster fans have already taken to social media expressing their surprise and delight.

In 2000, Barrett and his family moved to County Meath when his father Kevin, a former Hurricanes and Taranaki lock, played professional rugby in Athlone while also managing a farm.

The relationships built during that period give this trip extra meaning for Barrett, who has set a goal of growing his game with a team that has provided the bulk of Ireland’s national squad for years.

“It’s a special place for the Barrett family,” he said. “We’ve got so many great family connections in Oldcastle, in County Meath and throughout Dublin. To have an opportunity to go back and meet some family and friends and connections that were made twenty years ago is pretty cool.”

Kevin and wife Robyn spent 15 months in County Meath with their six children — Kane, Beauden, Scott, Blake, Jordie and Jenna (daughters Ella and Zara were born after they moved back home to New Zealand).

When living in Ireland, the siblings attended St. Fiach’s National School in Ballinacree.

“It’s going to be a great place for me to develop as a rugby player in a different environment where I’ll learn so many different things. And also to have a freshen up going into another World Cup cycle and some great years ahead with the All Blacks, Hurricanes and Taranaki,” he said.

“As a whole, I think this move is going to be really challenging, but a positive challenge. Heading north to different conditions, different teams, different referees — I think it will open my game up, make me see the game differently and I’ll ultimately bring the best bits back to New Zealand rugby and into a Test jersey, ideally, at the end of it.”