Rugby-All Blacks skipper Cane to quit test rugby at end of season


  • Rugby
  • Monday, 13 May 2024

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand All Blacks Sam Cane poses for a photograph after a press conference to announce his debut in Japan's Rugby League One as Suntory Sungoliath player at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu, outskirts of Tokyo, Japan November 28, 2023. REUTERS/John Geddie/File Photo

(Reuters) - Incumbent All Blacks captain Sam Cane announced on Monday that he would be returning to Japanese club rugby at the end of the season and retiring from the international game.

The 32-year-old flanker said he had decided to sign up for an extended stay at Suntory Sungoliath, where he is currently playing on sabbatical, and thus give up his eligibility to play for New Zealand.

"A good opportunity came my way with Suntory Sungoliath willing to offer me a three-year contract," Cane said in a New Zealand Rugby news release.

"I had to weigh up everything and, in the end, with a young family, it seemed like the best decision to help set up our future."

He had been by no means certain of retaining the All Blacks captaincy under new coach Scott Robertson in any case but his decision to retire from tests at the end of the season has sealed his fate in that regard.

"After discussing this at length with Sam, I fully understand the reasons behind his decision and support him," Robertson said.

"The position he plays asks a lot of you mentally and physically – both of those things ramp up when you are captain. So to do what he's done over such a long period is an incredible feat. I fully respect him taking this opportunity."

A tough openside flanker who has endured more than his fair share of injuries, Cane made his Super Rugby debut for Waikato Chiefs in 2011 and played the first of his 95 tests the following year.

A World Cup winner in 2015 and losing finalist after being red-carded last year in France, Cane remains eligible to play for the All Blacks this year after the Japanese season ends.

"If I'm fortunate enough to be selected in the All Blacks this year then I'll still be myself," said Cane, who has led his country in 27 tests.

"I love that team ... so if part of my role is contributing leadership off the field or on the field, I'll be happy to support the new captain as best as I can to help make it a smooth transition for the All Blacks."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!
   

Next In Rugby

Rugby-Springboks recall World Cup winners for Ireland series
Rugby-Lake to lead Wales in Australia as Thomas, Assiratti drop out
Rugby-Scott Barrett to captain All Blacks in England, Fiji tests
Rugby-Flyer Toole joins Nawaqanitawase in late bid for Olympic spot
Rugby-Wales forced into front row change for Springbok test
Olympics-Hirini returns from ACL to make NZ rugby squad for Paris
Rugby-Blues out to finally finish the job, Chiefs prepare for war
Rugby-Gibson-Park out as Ireland name squad for S Africa tests
Rugby-Marcus Smith wins race to start as England's No. 10 against Japan
Rugby-Highlanders' Garden-Bachop dies at 25 after 'medical event'

Others Also Read