All Blacks great Kieran Read retires after Japan semifinal loss to Robbie Deans’ side

Kieran Read of the All Blacks, pictured with the Bledisloe Cup in 2019, has confirmed his retirement from professional rugby. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

World Rugby and the All Blacks have saluted Kieran Read who has ended his career after a semifinal defeat in Japan’s Top League.

Read, 35, confirmed before leading Steve Hansen’s Toyota Verblitz out against Deans’ Panasonic Wild Knights on Saturday that he would be ending his career at the conclusion of the Japanese season.

The third most-capped player in All Blacks history was unable to extend his career another week, with the Wild Knights celebrating a 48-21 win.

Read said in a social media post: “I’m looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family.’’

The third most-capped player in All Blacks history was unable to extend his career another week, with the Wild Knights celebrating a 48-21 win.

Read said in a social media post: “I’m looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family.’’

New Zealand Rugby issued a social media tribute, saying: “Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby.’

Papakura-born Read made his first-class debut for Canterbury in 2006, and played for the Crusaders from 2007 to 2019, including several seasons as captain.

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