All Blacks star Brodie Retallick has revealed why he turned down an approach from the Chiefs to rejoin them for Vodacom Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Retallick was among the New Zealanders who returned home after the Japanese Top League season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While he is contracted with the All Blacks until 2023, Retallick took the option of a sabbatical in Japan and signed to play for the Kobe Steelers until the end of the 2021 season.
However, after the 28-year-old returned to New Zealand, the Chiefs still reached out to him about playing for them in New Zealand’s domestic restart of Super Rugby.
‘The Chiefs did approach me, but one of the reasons I wanted to stay [playing] in Japan and do these couple of seasons was just to have a break – a bit of time with the family with a long off-season, and give the body a bit of a break,’ Retallick told The Country.
‘Warren Gatland chucked it out there that I wasn’t going to play Super Rugby and that I was spending some time on my Hawke’s Bay farm, but I can clarify that – I own a property in Hawke’s Bay, where we are at the moment, but it’s only about 1,500 square metres – so it’s no farm, that’s for sure,’ he added with a laugh.
‘I’m sure the footy is going to be good viewing with Super Rugby Aotearoa, it’s going to be tough, but living in Hawke’s Bay at the moment I decided not to chuck the boots on for the Chiefs this season and just enjoy a bit of a longer break that we’ve got now.’
Super Rugby Aotearoa begins on 13 June, with the Chiefs travelling to take on the Highlanders in the opening match in Dunedin.
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