WELLINGTON, July 3 (Reuters) - New Zealand flyhalf Beauden Barrett will miss Super Rugby next year and play for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan's Top League, but he will be available for the three-times world champions international programme, the Auckland Blues said on Friday.
Barrett last year signed a four-year contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Blues through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France which included an option of a playing sabbatical overseas.
"The arrangement is similar to what was in place for Beaudy's All Blacks team mates Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock who played in Japan this year," NZR's Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum said in a statement.
"That flexibility in our contracting is key: it allows our top players to refresh in a different rugby environment but remain committed to New Zealand Rugby which, in the long term, is great for both parties." (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ken Ferris)