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All Blacks skipper to quit after 2019 World Cup

New Zealand All Blacks captain Kieran Read, pictured October 2018, has already achieved rugby’s premier goals as a member of the 2011 and 2015 World Cup winning New Zealand teams and as the 2013 World Player of the Year © AFP/File / Behrouz MEHRI

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Nov 3 – All Blacks captain Kieran Read plans to end his illustrious Test career after next year’s World Cup, and he said he is likely to be looking for a lucrative overseas contract.

“So for me I think it probably won’t be in New Zealand,” the 115-Test backrower told the New Zealand Herald when questioned about his future post the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Read, who will be 34 by the time the next World Cup ends, has already achieved rugby’s premier goals as a member of the 2011 and 2015 World Cup winning New Zealand teams and as the 2013 World Player of the Year.

He has also won Super Rugby titles with the Canterbury Crusaders.

Read and his wife Bridget have always wanted to experience overseas living with their three children and 2020 seemed the right time to make the move.

Retirement was an option, he said, but if his body holds out then playing somewhere in Europe was most likely.

“There are plenty of options out there but I probably want to keep playing if I can. It is the experience for the kids that will be the main thing and it has to work for us as a family,” he said.

“We have always thought as a family that we would like to go overseas and use that experience for the kids. That is probably the main option at the moment.”

Read first tasted captaincy of New Zealand in 2012 as part of the All Blacks long-term succession plans, and eventually became the full-time skipper after the 2015 World Cup when Richie McCaw retired.

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Sam Whitelock is the likely next leader, having already captained the All Blacks five times, although he is understood to be considering a short-term contract in Japan.

Read’s departure is likely to be part of another exodus of veteran All Blacks similar to the mass departures following the 2015 World Cup.

Ben Smith has reportedly signed with the French club Pau while Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Ardie Savea, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ryan Crotty are also believed to have been targeted by overseas clubs.

After the last World Cup, the All Blacks lost more than 800 Tests worth of experience when several players, including Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith took up contracts in Europe and McCaw retired.

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