New Zealand captain Kieran Read to retire from international rugby after 2019 World Cup

Kieran Read has played 118 Tests for New Zealand
Kieran Read has played 118 Tests for New Zealand

New Zealand captain Kieran Read has announced that he will quit international rugby at the end of the 2019 World Cup later this year in Japan.

Read has featured in 118 Tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2008 that includes 11 World Cup games and 52 Rugby Championship matches. He took over the reins of the national side when Richie McCaw retired post 2015 World Cup and is among the 20 players in the history of the game to have enjoyed double World Cup victory when the All Blacks won the titles in 2011 and 2015.

The 6ft 4in back-row is also the fourth in the list of most-capped New Zealand player and will move to Japanese club Toyota Verblitz next year amid there were reports of him being offered a lucrative package from European clubs.

"Japan's a bit closer to home than Europe and probably a bit easier on the body as well," said the 33-year-old.

"Knowing it's my last opportunity, I'm very motivated and can't wait to get into it, It's an exciting time."

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen lavished praise on Read and is hoping for him to sign off from international rugby on a high.

"He's developed into a fantastic leader who has the utmost respect of all his peers," said Hansen.

"What he has achieved has been remarkable, and it's fair to say that he is one of the greats of our game."

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