All Blacks captain Kieran Read to quit after Rugby World Cup

Read set for New Zealand swansong

Kieran Read: All Blacks captain to retire after 2019 World Cup

As earlier reported by RugbyPass, 33-year-old Read will join Japanese Top League club Toyota Verblitz next year at the end of what will be his 13th season of professional rugby in New Zealand.

The two-time World Cup victor, who will be chasing a third straight trophy this year, said the time felt right to leave.

Now on extended leave with the Crusaders, Read is not expected to make his return to Super Rugby until the side's round five clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin next week.

"I said it at the time when we played Ireland that whoever won that game was going to be viewed as the No 1 team in the world and everyone is going to chase them, ' said Hansen".

'I don't get too carried away with Super Rugby until halfway through, then you start to get a clearer picture about who is doing what, he said.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen wished the No 8 well after an "outstanding" career.

"With three kids and a family, [Japan] is a lot closer to home", Read said in Christchurch on Wednesday.

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"What he has achieved has been remarkable, and it's fair to say that he is one of the greats of our game who has enhanced the legacy of not only the All Blacks jersey, but also the Crusaders jersey".

He first tasted captaincy of New Zealand in 2012 as part of the All Blacks long-term succession plans, and eventually became the full-time captain after the 2015 World Cup when Richie McCaw retired. We've been ranked the number one team for 112 months now, I think, but people have seen Ireland as the top dog after they beat us, and that put a massive amount of expectation on the players and coaches.

Verblitz, who were fourth in the 16-team Top League last season, play some of their home games at Toyota Stadium, which will host four matches during the World Cup, including New Zealand's pool clash with Italy.

He hinted late previous year that 2019 would be his final World Cup after lengthy spells on the sidelines caused by a wrist injury and a bulging spinal disc.

Such is his value, he has been granted an extended off-season which won't end until at least round six of Super Rugby.

Ben Smith, Liam Squire and Nehe Milner-Skudder have already announced they will quit the worldwide scene after the tournament, along with long-time coach Steve Hansen.

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