All Blacks halfback and Hurricanes co-captain TJ Perenara has confirmed he will miss next year’s Super Rugby season to head overseas on a short-term rugby sabbatical.
The Hurricanes announced this afternoon Perenara has signed a contract with NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes and will link up with the club later in the year.
“It doesn’t mean it’s the end for me [here in New Zealand]," Perenara said in a video posted to social media.
"I’m looking forward to an exciting challenge over in Japan… with a new group of players, a new coaching group and I’m really excited about that adventure for myself and my family.
"It's going to be something different for us but I'm really looking forward to it.
"But I just want to reiterate - it's not the end of my time in New Zealand."
Perenara has played 66 Tests for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2014 and earlier this year became a parent for the first time alongside his wife Greer with the arrival of his daughter.
While finer details of Perenara's deal weren't revealed, it's expected it will mirror ones signed by fellow All Blacks such as Beauden Barrett which sees players miss the Super Rugby season but remain available for international selection.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said the short-term deal reflects Perenara's work ethic so far.
“TJ has been a long-standing and loyal player for New Zealand Rugby for a decade now and so the opportunity for him to have a break from playing here to have the experience of playing in Japan is a positive for him and his family.
"We wish him and his wife Greer all the very best and will welcome him back when he returns."
Lendrum said NZR would start contract discussions with Perenara’s management in due course, regarding his return to New Zealand.