Ex-All Blacks captain retires from rugby

Former New Zealand captain Kieran Read has retired from rugby.

The 35-year-old broke the news he would retire at the end of the season before Toyota Verblitz's semi-final against Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan's Top League on Saturday.

But Verblitz lost 48-21, ending their campaign and Read's career.

"I'm looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family," said Read, the third most-capped player in All Blacks history.

The number eight made 127 Test appearances for the All Blacks and was named captain in 2016 following Richie McCaw's retirement.

Read was a World Cup winner in 2011 and 2015, and was named World Rugby's player of the year in 2013.

He retired from international rugby in 2019 after the World Cup in Japan, where New Zealand finished third.

At club level, he won four Super Rugby titles with the Canterbury Crusaders, before joining Verblitz at the end of 2019, co-captaining them in his final season.