Jordie Barrett will join Leinster on short-term contract next December

All Blacks utility back keen to return to Ireland where he spent 18 months in his formative years

The All Blacks utility back Jordie Barrett is joining Leinster on a short-term contract from next December until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Barrett is still on sabbatical and contracted to the NZRU until the end of next season but was apparently keen to explore the possibility of returning to Ireland where he spent 18 months in his formative years while his family were living in Ireland.

Barrett’s impending arrival suggests Charlie Ngatai will be moving on at the end of this season.

In 2000, Barrett and his family moved to County Meath when his father Kevin, a former Hurricanes and Taranaki lock, took up an offer to play for Buccaneers while also managing a farm.


The relationships built during that period give this trip extra meaning for the 57-Test All Black who has set a goal of growing his game with a team that has provided the bulk of Ireland’s national squad for years.

“It’s a special place for the Barrett family,” he said. “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 20 years ago is pretty cool.”

Barrett was thankful to New Zealand Rugby for helping facilitate the short-term Leinster move and can’t wait to return to a place that he has visited in recent years.

“I’m certainly grateful to New Zealand Rugby – the Hurricanes are sending me off with their best wishes and are very excited which is awesome – and obviously to Razor for signing off,” he added.

“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. And also to have a freshen up going into another World Cup cycle and some great years ahead with the All Blacks, Hurricanes and Taranaki.

“As a whole, I think this move is going to be really challenging, but a positive challenge. Heading north to different conditions, different teams, different referees – I think it will open my game up, make me see the game differently and I’ll ultimately bring the best bits back to New Zealand rugby and into a Test jersey, ideally, at the end of it.

“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 twenty or thirty years with my kids or grandkids, knowing that I left no stone unturned, and I took up this opportunity to better myself.”

The length of Barrett’s NZRU contract also signals his interest in potentially playing against the British and Irish Lions, who are set to tour New Zealand in 2029.

“Jordie’s commitment to the All Blacks shows his passion and loyalty for the jersey,” said New Zealand head coach Scott Robertson. “We are proud he has shown that by signing for this length of time.”

“Jordie was very clear from the start around the fact that he wanted to use this sabbatical to improve his game.

“We will help him achieve that while making sure he is looked after mentally and physically. After months of discussions and collaboration with Leinster, we feel they are the right club to do that. They have a proven track record of creating internationals and helping players achieve their goals.”

On the injury front, Garry Ringrose will be further assessed this week for a shoulder injury as he nears a return. Ross Byrne, who was withdrawn with a minor leg injury in steering Leinster to their 40-13 win over La Rochelle, will also be further assessed this week.

Neither will be among a squad of 30 or so players who fly to South Africa tomorrow for two URC games against the Lions and the Stormers. Hugo Keenan has been managing a hip injury the last few weeks which had a minor flare up in the Captain’s Run last week and is unavailable for selection this weekend.

There are no further updates on: James Ryan (arm), Tommy O’Brien (hamstring) and Alex Soroka (foot).

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times