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AFP
May 17, 2021

Rugby world pays tribute as All Blacks great Read retires

AFP
May 17, 2021

TOKYO: World Rugby and the All Blacks led tributes on Sunday to Kieran Read who announced his retirement from rugby after a semi-final defeat in Japan’s Top League.

The third most-capped player in New Zealand rugby history confirmed before leading Toyota Verblitz against the Panasonic Wild Knights on Saturday that he would finish playing at the end of the Japanese season.

That came at the final whistle of the match as Verblitz lost 48-21, unable to extend Read’s storied career to next weekend’s final. “I’m looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family,” Read posted on social media.

The towering No 8 made 127 Test appearances for New Zealand, 52 of them as captain after taking over the armband from Richie McCaw in 2016.

World Rugby posted on social media a list of Read’s incredible honours as a player with the simple sign-off: “What a career,” and a clapping emoji.

“Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby,” said New Zealand Rugby on their official Twitter feed.

“One of the greats. Enjoy retirement,” added NZR alongside a black heart emoji.

“Congrats on an incredible career, Kieran,” tweeted the Rugby World Cup with a video of Read leading the haka at his final Rugby World Cup game, the 2019 third-fourth playoff against Wales in Japan.

“All the best in retirement mate” posted arch-rivals Australia on their official Wallabies social media pages.