Read to end New Zealand career in 2019
New Zealand captain Kieran Read has announced he will retire from international rugby after this year's World Cup.
The 33-year-old had previously indicated this was likely to be his last year representing the All Blacks as he seeks to guide them to a third successive World Cup in Japan.
The Crusaders back-row made his debut in 2008 and has gone on to win 114 caps, taking over the captaincy from Richie McCaw after he retired following the 2015 World Cup.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has heaped praise on Read's leadership skills in the wake of the announcement, while New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew believes him to be one of the most influential players in world rugby.
Read had previously been linked with a move to France following this year's World Cup but he has instead chosen to move to Japanese side Toyota Verblitz and says now was the right time to reveal his plans in order to refocus on the remainder of the year.
"Every young rugby player in New Zealand dreams of the opportunities I have had to represent the All Blacks and the Crusaders and I know I'll look back at the end of the year with a great deal of pride to have worn those jerseys for as long as I have," Read said.
"Knowing it's my last opportunity, I'm very motivated and can't wait to get into it," he added. "It's an exciting time."
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.