All Blacks skipper Read to quit after World Cup
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.
Although the 118-cap enforcer had long been linked with a big-money move to Parisian club Racing 92, he said he was mindful how his battle-weary body might stand up to the strain of a full season in Europe's top leagues.
"With three kids and a family, (Japan) is a lot closer to home," Read told a media conference in Christchurch yesterday.
"And for my age and body, in terms of the amount of footy you play there compared to Europe and the UK. They are probably the main reasons. Also, it offered something pretty unique to be there and enjoy a slice of Japan life."
The 2013 World Player of the Year will easily be Toyota Verblitz's highest profile player. The club, who were fourth in the 16-team 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. - REUTERS