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All Blacks legend Kieran Read retires from professional rugby

The towering number eight made 127 Test appearances for New Zealand, 52 of them as captain.

Read on the charge against Ireland in 2016.
Read on the charge against Ireland in 2016.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

WORLD RUGBY AND the All Blacks led tributes today to Kieran Read who announced his retirement from rugby after a semi-final defeat in Japan’s Top League.

The third-most-capped player in New Zealand rugby history confirmed before leading Toyota Verblitz against the Panasonic Wild Knights on Saturday that he would finish playing at the end of the Japanese season.

That came at the final whistle of the match as Verblitz lost 48-21, unable to extend Read’s storied career to next weekend’s final.

“I’m looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family,” Read posted on social media.

The towering number eight made 127 Test appearances for New Zealand, 52 of them as captain after taking over the armband from Richie McCaw in 2016.

He was part of two Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks sides and was voted World Rugby’s Player of the Year in 2013. At club level, he won four Super Rugby titles with the Canterbury Crusaders.

World Rugby posted on social media a list of Read’s incredible honours as a player, with the simple sign-off: “What a career.”

“Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby,” said New Zealand Rugby on their official Twitter feed.

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Read made his All Blacks debut in 2008 and formed, with McCaw and Jerome Kaino, the formidable back row that was a fundamental part of the World Cup-winning sides in 2011 and 2015.

The 35-year-old was co-captain this season at Toyota Verblitz, where his former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is director of rugby.

© – AFP, 2021

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