Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett: All Blacks to join Japanese club

Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett are the latest New Zealand players to confirm they will play club rugby in Japan after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Scrum-half Smith, 34, looks set for his last season in New Zealand having signed long-term with Toyota Verblitz.

Fly-half Barrett, 31, could still return home to play after 2024 following his spell with the same club.

Barrett took a sabbatical to join Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath in 2021 before returning to New Zealand.

All Blacks full-back Damian McKenzie played in Japan last season while fly-half Richie Mo'unga has signed up for the 2024 campaign.

Smith is the most-capped back in New Zealand history having played 114 times for his country, with Barrett second on 112.

Barrett said: "I'm looking forward to taking up this opportunity with Toyota alongside a good friend and long-term team-mate in Aaron."

Barrett said his agent was in "negotiation" with New Zealand Rugby, his club in New Zealand the Blues and Toyota Verblitz about his future beyond 2024.