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Blues launch bid for early Barrett return

SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks star Beauden Barrett could make an early Super Rugby Pacific return following his stint with Japanese League One side Toyota Verblitz.

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Barrett returned to Auckland and has been spotted training with the Super Rugby Pacific franchise the Blues.

The 32-year-old, who can cover flyhalf and fullback, was set to return to action with the Blues for the 2025 Super Rugby Pacific season after a sabbatical granted by New Zealand Rugby to play for the Japanese side.

However, Verblitz’s failure to make the play-offs opened the door for an early homecoming for the All Blacks veteran.

He was originally due to miss the whole 2024 Super Rugby campaign, which enters the play-offs next month.

But the Blues have injury woes and are looking into whether Barrett – contracted to the New Zealand side until 2025 – is allowed to play for them this year.

The current regulations state that players must be playing for a New Zealand side as of April 1 if they are to feature during the Super Rugby Pacific finals.

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“Beaudy is back from Japan and given he’s contracted with the Blues in 2025 and lives in Auckland he’s back training with the team,” teh Blues official X account stated.

“The Blues are seeking clarification around the application process for including him at the Blues for the remainder of this season.”

The Blues are top of the Super Rugby table with two rounds left, but have been hit by injuries.

Flyhalf Stephen Perofeta has been sidelined for most of the season while fullback Zarn Sullivan suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s win over the Hurricanes.

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