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.
The 33-year-old No 8 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.
“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.