All Blacks captain Cane to retire from international rugby

By Sports Desk May 13, 2024

New Zealand captain Sam Cane has announced he will retire from international rugby at the end of 2024, having agreed a three-year contract with Japan Rugby League One team Tokyo Sungoliath.

Cane made his All Blacks debut in 2012 and has represented his country 95 times, including through the team's triumphant run at the 2015 World Cup.

The flanker succeeded Kieran Read as captain in 2020, though his most recent international outing ended with him suffering the ignominy of becoming the first man to be sent off in a Rugby World Cup final, as New Zealand were beaten by South Africa last year.

Cane will be eligible to represent the All Blacks through the second half of 2024 after returning from an initial spell in Japan but will then head there permanently after New Zealand Rugby agreed to release him from his contract. 

"A good opportunity came my way with Sungoliath willing to offer me a three-year contract," Cane said. "I had to weigh up everything and, in the end, with a young family it seemed like the best decision to help set us up for our future.

"I had my time as captain and it was a huge honour and privilege. If I'm fortunate enough to be selected for the All Blacks this year then I'll still be myself. 

"I love that team, and if part of my role is contributing leadership-wise, I'll be happy to support the new captain as best I can to help with a speedy transition."

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