Kieran Read announced today that he will move to Japanese club Toyota Verblitz after this year’s rugby World Cup, bringing an end to an 11-year international career.
The two-time World Cup winner, who will be chasing a third straight trophy this year, shared his plans to move overseas in November, but confirmed the nature of the move in Christchurch early this morning.
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The 2013 World Rugby Player of the Year feels that it is the right time to bow out of the All Blacks.
“My family and I are looking forward to an overseas experience and Japan presents an awesome opportunity to immerse ourselves in Japanese culture as part of the Toyota club,” the 33-year-old veteran of 118 Tests said.
“I feel the time is right to make this announcement on my playing future, so that I can focus my efforts on the season ahead.”
“Knowing it’s my last opportunity, I’m very motivated and can’t wait to get into it. It’s an exciting time.”
Read had been linked with a move to a European club but the proximity to New Zealand convinced him to join Toyota Verblitz.
“It was reasonably straightforward. There were different options, but, probably, I just really sat down and looked at all the different aspects of making a decision – it really stood out, I guess, in terms of Japan and the Toyota club as well. It offered something pretty unique to be there, and enjoy a slice of Japan life,” he explained.
“With three kids and a family it [Japan] is a lot closer to home. And for my age, and my body, in terms of the amount of footy you play there compared to Europe and the UK. They are probably the main reasons.”