All Blacks star Ardie Savea to play 2024 season in Japan

All Blacks back-row forward Ardie Savea will spend a season in Japan following next year's Rugby World Cup before returning to play for New Zealand in 2024, it was announced Monday. The 29-year-old plans to join Kobe Steelers on a short-term contract in early 2024 after the Rugby World Cup in France.Savea, who plays for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, plans to return in June 2024 and play out his current New Zealand Rugby contract, which expires in 2025."I'm excited to be joining Kobe Steelers after the 2023 rugby season," Savea said in a statement.“Although it's far away, it's nice to have clarity in what I'm doing and I think this change, for a short period of time, will do me and my family good.“Playing in Japan is going to be an awesome experience and I’m ready to embrace their beautiful culture. I can’t wait to meet all the Kobe fans at the games and connect with everyone.” Savea, who can play at flanker or No.8, has played 67 Tests for New Zealand.“NZR are pleased for Ardie to be taking up an opportunity to play in Japan for six months after the 2023 Rugby World Cup,” NZR Professional Rugby Manager Simon Simmers said“Super Rugby Pacific 2023 will be Ardie’s 11th year with the Hurricanes so to be able to play somewhere different after next year’s competition will be a great experience for him and his young family. “We are supportive of this playing break that formed part of his contract extension signed last year through until the end of 2025.”"It is great news that Ardie is committing to NZ Rugby until the end of 2025," added All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster. "His leadership and form makes him a vital component of our planning."It is also great that the structure of this break away from New Zealand still enables him to be available for the entire 2024 All Blacks season."Click Here: usa rugby jersey

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