Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read has announced his retirement from rugby after his time in the Japanese Top League came to an end.
Read has been playing with the Toyota Verblitz since leaving the Crusaders and retiring from international duty with the All Blacks in 2019, and helped the side to the Top League semi-finals.
However, Toyota were beaten by 48 points to 21 by the Panasonic Wild Knights at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka, ending their season as well as Read’s career.
Hadleigh Parkes unleashed Kenki Fukuoka on the wing ⚡
— StanSportAU (@StanSportAU) May 15, 2021
Trophy-laden career with New Zealand and the Crusaders.
Read played 128 times for the All Blacks between 2008 and 2019, winning two Rugby World Cups, as well as seven Tri Nations/Rugby Championships with his country.
The number eight took over as captain of New Zealand following Richie McCaw’s retirement after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and led his country against the British and Irish Lions in the test series in 2017.
The New Zealander also experienced plenty of success at club level, winning four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, for whom he first played back in 2007.
After a stellar career, Kieran Read has announced his retirement from professional rugby pic.twitter.com/oWW4sv9UsG
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) May 15, 2021
The New Zealand number eight was named as World Rugby Player of the Year in 2013 and started in both the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup finals.
The All Blacks veteran was unable to captain his country to a third successive World Cup title however, as England defeated New Zealand in the semi-finals at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Read was able to finish his international career on a high, however, as New Zealand defeated Wales by 40 points to 17 in the third-place play-off match the following weekend.
The 35-year-old is New Zealand’s third most-capped player of all time, behind Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu, and is the joint-10th most-capped player in the world.