Perenara heads to Japan, will miss Super Rugby season

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - New Zealand Captain's Run - Beppu Jissoji Multipurpose Ground, Beppu, Japan, October 1, 2019 - New Zealand's TJ Perenara during training. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

TOKYO (Reuters) - New Zealand scrumhalf TJ Perenara will miss next year’s Super Rugby season after agreeing a short-term contract with Japanese Top League side NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes, he said on Monday.

Perenara, who featured in the All Blacks’ victory over Australia on Sunday, will head to Japan later this year ahead of the new season, which starts in January.

The move means Perenara will not play in Super Rugby for the Wellington Hurricanes next year.

“I just wanted to make a massive shout out to all the Hurricanes fans here in New Zealand, over the last 10 years I’ve gone to work every day to put on a show for you guys,” Perenara said in a vide posted on social media .

“It doesn’t mean it’s the end for me (in New Zealand). I am 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.”

New Zealand Rugby said Perenara was making the move with the organisation’s backing and that they would soon start contract discussions with Perenara’s management regarding his return.

Perenara has played for the Hurricanes since 2012 and is the team’s most capped player with 140 appearances. The 28-year-old has also played 67 times for New Zealand, winning the World Cup in 2015.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford