WELLINGTON (Reuters) – All Blacks captain Kieran Read has signed up to play with Japanese club Toyota Verblitz after this year’s World Cup, bringing an end to 13 seasons as a professional in New Zealand, New Zealand Rugby said on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old number eight had already announced he would be bringing down the curtain on his long test career after he leads New Zealand’s quest for a third straight World Cup title in Japan later this year.
“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,” Read said in a news release.
“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.”
Read, who has played 118 times for the All Blacks, will also be hoping to help the Canterbury Crusaders to a third successive Super Rugby title before the end of his final season in his home country.
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)