WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett has quit the Wellington-based Hurricanes after eight Super Rugby seasons to join the Auckland-based Blues on a four-year deal.
The 28-year-old veteran of 73 tests has also re-signed with New Zealand Rugby through the 2023 World Cup.
Barrett's move, announced Friday, is partly motivated by family considerations. His wife, Hannah, is from Auckland and they have a house in the city.
Blues chief executive Michael Redman said the deal to lure Barrett from the Hurricanes has been "years in the making."
"While Beauden's personal circumstances created this opportunity, changes we've made to our club in recent years meant for the first time the Blues were a credible option for him," Redman said.
"The process has been long and complex, but we believe the outcome is the most influential player movement in Super Rugby history."
The Blues have been New Zealand's worst-performing Super Rugby team for many years because they have lacked a world-class flyhalf. Barrett gives them that but will not be surrounded by top-class players as he has been at the Hurricanes.
New Zealand Rugby's new four-year deal with Barrett allows him to take an extended break from rugby after this year's World Cup and he will not play for the Blues until midway through next year's Super Rugby season.
He will also be allowed a short sabbatical in Japan, but the terms of that arrangement have still to be negotiated.
Barrett has played all of his Super Rugby with the Hurricanes. His father also played for the franchise and his All Black brother Jordie continues to do so.
"The Hurricanes will always be a huge part of who I am," Barrett said. "The Hurricanes environment and style of rugby they play has helped me become the player I am today and I'll be leaving some very good mates.
"Wellington has been my rugby base for many years and university base for Hannah and we'll always have fond memories of living there. Home for us now is Taranaki and Auckland and home and family are immensely important to both of us."