All Blacks: Japanese club Kobe chase Brodie Retallick after Sale rumours denied

After denying claims of signing a world record £1m (NZ$1.9m) deal with with the Sale Sharks, All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick is now linked with a move to Japan.

NZME is reporting Japanese club Kobelco Steelers are the latest to join the race for the 27-year-old's signature after this year's World Cup.

The report states that Kobelco is leading the race for Retallick's signature with the 73-test All Black likely to take a year-long sabbatical after the World Cup.

Kobe also boasts some familiar faces for Retallick, with All Blacks and Chiefs connections at the club.

Former All Blacks assistant Wayne Smith is the club's general manager, with former Chiefs development manager Dave Dillon the head coach. Kiwi players Dan Carter, Richard Buckman and Andy Ellis are currently contracted to the squad.

On Wednesday, the newly promoted Chiefs co-captain took to social media to deny any reports linking him to the English Premiership.

"No-one thought to ask, but no, I’m not going to be playing for Sale… not that I know off [sic] anyway."

Brodie Retallick's Instagram story.
Brodie Retallick's Instagram story. Photo credit: Instagram

He is widely regarded as the best lock in world rugby and was named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2014. His end-to-end effort for New Zealand against Australia last year was also voted International Rugby Players Try of the Year.

Retallick isn't the only All Black likely to spend time in Japan, with trio Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty and Aaron Smith all linked with moves to the Asian country.

Barrett, who is currently on his honeymoon after marrying last month, is being chased by several clubs, but England international Danny Care told the BBC's Rugby Union Weekly podcast that the 27-year-old only has eyes on Japan.

"He got an offer from Harlequins, but he said no, because he is going to go to Japan," said Care, after meeting the All Black in Dubai last week.

"He said his agent got a little sniff, if he would be interested in coming over here.

Meanwhile, according to Midi Olympique, prop Owen Franks has turned down a deal from Toulon to join brother Ben at the Northampton Saints.

The paper also reports that Waisake Naholo is close to signing with either London Irish or Wasps.

Several All Blacks have already confirmed their departure after the World Cup, including Ben Smith, Kieran Read, Matt Proctor, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

Newshub.

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