Former New Zealand skipper Kieran Read has announced his retirement from professional rugby bringing an end a stellar 15-year career.
The decision follows after his stint with Japanese side Toyota Verblitz came to an end with a semi-final defeat to Panasonic Wild Knights on Saturday.
Read started his career with provincial side Canterbury in 2006 and made his Super Rugby debut with Crusaders a year later. With over 100 Super Rugby appearances, the 35-year-old was handed the captaincy in 2014 before his New Zealand team-mate Sam Whitelock succeeded him as Crusaders captain in 2017.
He went on to win four Super Rugby titles with Crusaders coming in 2008, 2017, 2018 and 2019 before deciding to switch to Japanese Top League club Toyota Verblitz post the 2019 World Cup when he announced international retirement.
Read also has played in 127 Tests for New Zealand - making him the third most-capped player in the game for the All Blacks - and was appointed the captain in 2016 following Richie McCaw's retirement. He captained New Zealand in 52 games and was a dual World Cup winner when they clinched the title in the 2011 and 2015 editions.
Read also was named the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2013 while also winning the New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year honours in 2010 and 2013.
The All Blacks official Twitter handle paid tribute to Read for his contribution to the game.
Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby. pic.twitter.com/zOCybXOr5G— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) May 15, 2021