All Blacks captain Kieran Read has confirmed that 2019 will be his final year in New Zealand Rugby.
The 33-year-old will join Japanese club Toyota Verblitz next year, at the end of what will be his 13th season of professional rugby in New Zealand. He has played 118 Test matches, 43 as captain, while also featuring in 145 Vodacom Super Rugby games for the Crusaders.
‘Every young rugby player in New Zealand dreams of the opportunities I have had to represent the All Blacks and the Crusaders, and I know I’ll look back at the end of the year with a great deal of pride to have worn those jerseys for as long as I have,’ Read said.
‘I feel the time is right to make this announcement on my playing future, so that I can focus my efforts on the season ahead.’
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: ‘On behalf of New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks, I’d like to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that Reado has made to our game. His performances on the park speak for themselves: he’s played 118 Tests and started 111 of them, which is an outstanding achievement.
‘However, that is only part of the Kieran Read story. His contribution off the park has been just as impressive. He’s developed into a fantastic leader who has the utmost respect of all his peers.
‘What he has achieved has been remarkable, and it’s fair to say that he is one of the greats of our game who has enhanced the legacy of not only the All Blacks jersey, but also the Crusaders jersey.’
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