Kieran Read to quit All Blacks after World Cup

All Black captain Kieran Read is unlikely to play before the first test against the Lions. Photo:...
Kieran Read. Photo: Getty Images
Kieran Read will walk away from the All Blacks after this year's World Cup, and take up a short stint in Japan.

The All Blacks captain made the announcement today and will front a press conference in Christchurch.

Read (33) has played 118 tests in the black jersey and has captained the team in 49 tests.

He was part of the victorious 2011 and 2015 teams and was named World Player of the Year in 2013.

He will join Toyota Verblitz in Japan next year after reported interest from French side Racing 92 and at least one unnamed English club.

That would mark the end of 13th season of professional rugby in New Zealand.

"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.

"My family and I are looking forward to an overseas experience and Japan presents an awesome opportunity to immerse ourselves in Japanese culture as part of the Toyota club.

"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."

The New Zealand Herald first reported that Read would quit the All Blacks in November last year.

NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew called Read one of the most influential players in the world and thanked him for his contribution.

"We want to wish Kieran all the very best for his swansong season in New Zealand Rugby. He's been one of the most influential players in the world in his 13 years at the top of the professional game, an outstanding and hugely-respected All Blacks Captain, and an All Blacks centurion.

"We owe 'Reado' and others like him, who have given so much to our teams, a huge debt of gratitude. We wish him, wife Bridget and his family all the best for their adventures next year."

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