Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea to remain in New Zealand
All Blacks duo are the first players to sign new deals that will keep them at home until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea have committed their long-term futures to New Zealand through to the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
The All Blacks duo will also remain with their Super Rugby franchises, with no sabbatical year or option to play overseas during that time, despite reports that in recent days that their deals could be sweetened by such a clause.
Even though they are still relatively young, they are now very experienced rugby players. They are also very valuable team members who are both world-leading players.
The deals buck a trend in New Zealand talent moving overseas with Dan Cater, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Colin Slade and Charles Piutau all set to head abroad after the Rugby World Cup, but 22 current or former All Blacks have committed their future to the country until at least 2016 with more expected in the coming weeks with Ryan Crotty, Wyatt Crockett, Liam Messam and Tawera Kerr-Barlow among the players out of contract after the Rugby World Cup ends in October.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen admits that both Chiefs lock Retallick, 23, who is the current World Rugby Player of the Year and Hurricanes wing Savea, 24, are valuable members of the All Blacks set-up with both given the chance to play in back-to-back Rugby World Cups.
“It’s fantastic news to have both Brodie and Julian re-sign through until 2019 and I’m sure all New Zealand rugby fans will join us in applauding their decision,” Hansen said.
“Even though they are still relatively young, they are now very experienced rugby players.
“They are also very valuable team members who are both world-leading players.”
Retallick, who has played 36 tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2012, joins fellow forwards Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua in signing a new deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union.
There is a lot I want to achieve and I firmly believe that New Zealand is the best place for me to grow my game and accomplish my goals.
And Retallick believes that remaining in New Zealand is the best decision for his future, despite being able to command much larger salaries with a move to Japan or the northern hemisphere.
“I am only young and still have plenty to learn about the game,” Retallick said.
“There is a lot I want to achieve and I firmly believe that New Zealand is the best place for me to grow my game and accomplish my goals.
“I have access to the best coaches in the world, play in teams with great lads and great environments and am really enjoying my footy.”
Like Retallick, Savea admits the decision to sign a new deal to stay in New Zealand was an easy one.
I love the jerseys, and want to continue to grow as a player and help both teams succeed, and add to the legacy.
Affectionately known as “The Bus” for his powerful running with ball in hand, Savea joins fellow backs Cory Jane, Beauden Barrett, and TJ Perenara in recommitting to the Hurricanes.
And he insists he still has a lot to achieve in the game, despite his obvious talents yielding 30 international tries in 33 appearances and 29 tries for the ‘Canes in 67 appearances.
“For me, it was easy to make the decision,” Savea said.
“There are still a lot of things I want to achieve in New Zealand rugby and I love playing for both the Hurricanes and All Blacks.
“I love the jerseys, and want to continue to grow as a player and help both teams succeed, and add to the legacy.
“I’m looking forward to carrying on with the team, and hopefully I will be able to help us achieve more of the same results we have produced so far this year.”
With New Zealand due to welcome the British and Irish Lions in 2017, the NZRU will hope that keeping two of its brightest young players in the country will encourage others to see their short-term future at home.
Chief executive Steve Tew is delighted to have secured their signatures through on four-year deals in what should be an exciting period for New Zealand rugby.
“Brodie and Julian represent a big part of the future for us and we are delighted to have them sign for four more years,” Tew said in a statement.
“We know our players have choices, so to have them commit long-term to New Zealand Rugby is very pleasing, and I want to thank them both for their commitment to New Zealand.
“It’s an exciting period for rugby in this country and they will now be part of some very important events, including the revamped Super Rugby competition from next year, the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2017 and Rugby World Cup 2019.”