Rugby: “The best decision to prepare our future…” At 32, a New Zealand international will draw a line under the All Blacks

Rugby: “The best decision to prepare our future…” At 32, a New Zealand international will draw a line under the All Blacks

All Blacks captain Sam Keane has announced that 2024 will be his final season at international level, preferring a contract in Japan.

New Zealand rugby national team captain Sam Keane announced on Monday 13 May that he will retire from international football at the end of 2024, bringing an end to a 12-year international career. “After playing 95 Test matches, including 27 as captain, (the 32-year-old rugby player) has decided to devote more time to his family and has signed a long-term contract with the Suntory Goliaths in Tokyo,” New Zealand Rugby said. , in a press release.

Announcing his international retirement is not a big surprise. After the defeat in the World Cup final against South Africa (11-12), a match during which he received a red card, the All Blacks captain announced in November that he would take a leave of absence and postpone matters for a period after a few months of his international career playing with FC Tokyo. Japanese songoliat. An opportunity he didn't want to miss.

“I had to weigh the pros and cons, and in the end, with a young family, it seemed to me that this was the best decision to prepare for our future,” he justified. “It was a very difficult decision because I love the teams I represent here in New Zealand.” Sam Cane notably won the 2015 World Cup with the All Blacks, of which he was appointed captain in 2020, succeeding Kieran Reid.

“A great honor”

Under his leadership, the Blacks also lost the first series of Test matches at home to Ireland in 2022, and suffered a crushing defeat to Argentina a few weeks later. He said: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to wear the captain's armband. It has been a great honor and privilege. I have learned a lot from it and progressed.”

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For his part, the new Blacks coach, Scott Robertson, announced that the two men discussed Sam Kane's decision “at length.” He added: “I fully understand the reasons for his decision and support it.” “The position he holds is very mentally and physically demanding […] “That's why doing what he did over such a long period of time is an amazing achievement,” he continued.

“I completely respect the fact that he took that opportunity,” Scott Robertson said. Sam Kane will return to the New Zealand national team, at the end of the season, for the Japanese club Tokyo Songoliat, and he could be selected with the Black team until the end of 2024, but he will no longer be captain.

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