Bad news:All Blacks’ captain Sam Cane is set to retire from international rugby at the close of 2024, expressing, “I feel my time has come.”..Read More.

Sam Cane, the captain of New Zealand’s rugby union team, plans to retire from international play at the conclusion of 2024, as he embarks on a three-year contract with Suntory Goliath in Japan. Despite his hopes to participate in upcoming Tests against England and Fiji, as well as the Rugby Championship, at the age of 32, he feels he has “had my time as captain,” having led the All Blacks 27 times.

New Zealand’s captain, Sam Cane, has revealed his decision to retire from international rugby union by the close of 2024, marking his permanent transition to Japan. The 32-year-old has committed to a three-year deal with Tokyo’s Suntory Goliath, rendering him unavailable for selection. Cane has been representing the Japanese club during his sabbatical from the All Blacks.

The move has been made ahead of new head coach Scott Robertson preparing to put his stamp on the team, but Cane still hopes to play a part in this summer’s Tests with England and Fiji, as well as the Rugby Championship, before he steps away from the international set-up.

The flanker, who has captained the team 27 times and is nearing a century of All Blacks caps, expressed that his move to Japan will afford him more time with his young family. In a statement, Cane remarked, “It’s part of the natural process in rugby. I had my time as captain, and it was a tremendous honor and privilege.” He added, “If I’m lucky enough to be chosen for the All Blacks this year, I’ll still be myself. I love that team and want to see them succeed.” Cane emphasized his readiness to support the new captain and contribute to the team’s transition, both on and off the field. Reflecting on his captaincy, he expressed gratitude for the experience, noting the lessons learned and personal growth achieved.

As well as more family time, Cane – who will not be All Blacks captain on his return to the side – believes the move will prolong his playing career, with his deal taking him past his 35th birthday.

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

“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.”

The All Blacks play their first match since last year’s World Cup final defeat to South Africa when they host England in Dunedin for the first of two Tests, on July 6.

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