Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea commit to New Zealand, stemming player exodus
Reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Brodie Retallick and free-scoring winger Julian Savea have committed to playing in New Zealand until after the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand Rugby announced on Wednesday.
Reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Brodie Retallick and free-scoring winger Julian Savea have committed to playing in New Zealand until after the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced on Wednesday.
NZR chief Steve Tew described the retention of 24-year-old Savea and 23-year-old lock Retallick as “very significant” as they look to lock in key All Blacks in the face of a drain of talent to wealthy European clubs.
“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.
“We know our players have choices, so to have them commit long-term to New Zealand Rugby is very pleasing. 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 & Irish Lions Tour in 2017 and Rugby World Cup 2019.”
Retallick, who has played 36 tests since his debut in 2012, was the first tight forward in 13 years to be named the best player in the world when he took the honour last November.
Savea, nicknamed “The Bus” for his rampaging ball-running skills, was also among the nominees for the award after a season in which he took his scoring tally to a remarkable 30 tries in 33 tests.
“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,” said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
“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 deal will also keep Retallick at the Waikato Chiefs and Savea at the Wellington Hurricanes for another four Super Rugby seasons.
The pair were the first All Blacks to sign up until the end of the 2019 season but neither contract includes a sabbatical or the option for a spell overseas, as has been offered to key players in the past.
Both are certainties to make the All Blacks squad for the World Cup title defence in England later this year and NZR are hoping their signing will encourage other young players to spurn lucrative offers from abroad.