Brodie Retallick will not be turning out for the Chiefs in the upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa with the All Blacks second-rower turning down the franchise’s offer.
Retallick is currently on a two-year sabbatical having agreed a deal with Japanese outfit Kobelco Steelers, but is back in his native country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old is contracted with New Zealand Rugby until 2023 and had the chance to join Sam Whitelock, who has decided to feature for the Crusaders despite signing a deal to play in Japan, by playing in the revamped Super Rugby competition.
He has decided to turn that down, however, and will instead focus on recovery after a long stint at the top level of the game having garnered 81 caps for the All Blacks.
“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 offseason, and give the body a bit of a break,” he 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.
“I’m sure the footy is going to be good viewing with Super Rugby Aotearoa, it’s going to be tough, but living in the 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.”
Due to Covid-19, a number of issues are up in the air, including the structure of the rugby season, and Retallick is open to some of the changes that have been suggested.
“I’m not sure how Test rugby is going to look over the next year or so with all these restrictions and where different countries are at,” he added.