All Black star Jordie Barrett to join Leinster in December

New Zealand rugby star Jordie Barrett is set to play for Irish club Leinster for six months from December 2024 after signing a new contract with New Zealand Rugby that permits him to play away from his home country.

Barrett exercised an option to play overseas as part of his new deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZR), and has strong ties with the area, having spent part of his childhood in County Meath, Ireland, when his dad played professional rugby in the province.

His new deal with NZR runs until the end of 2028, and aligns him with his club team the Hurricanes for that period.

"Ireland is a special place for the Barrett family," Barrett said of the move. "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.

"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.

"The reality of being a professional athlete is that you've only got a small window to have these opportunities and I'd love to be sitting there in 20 or 30 years with my kids or grandkids, knowing that I left no stone unturned, and I took up this opportunity to better myself."

Barrett, 27, has played 57 Tests for the All Blacks as a utility back since making his debut against Samoa in June 2017. He has registered 292 international points in that time, scoring 24 tries.

He was part of the New Zealand squads at both of the last Rugby World Cups, earning a bronze medal in Japan in 2019 and starting in the final in 2023 as his country was narrowly beaten 12-11 by South Africa.

"We're delighted that Jordie has agreed to join us after New Zealand's tour in early December, especially as he has chosen Leinster ahead of a number of other very attractive options," Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said in a statement.

"Jordie is a fifty-plus cap All Black with an outstanding skillset who has been performing at the highest level of the game for multiple seasons now. He is keen to seek out a new experience at Leinster and I'm sure we will learn a lot from each other during his time with us.

"The Barrett family have strong connections with Ireland and Leinster in particular, so it's a sort of homecoming for Jordie!"

Leinster defeated La Rochelle 40-13 in the European Champions Cup on Saturday, avenging a narrow loss to the same opponents in last year's final.

They lead the United Rugby Championship standings after 13 rounds of matches.