All Black captain Sam Cane announces retirement from international rugby

By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission

Incumbent All Black captain Sam Cane has announced his retirement from international rugby.

Sam Cane Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Cane, who is currently playing for Suntory in the Japanese Top League, said the decision was “a very hard one”.

“I love playing for the team that I represent here in New Zealand. But that won’t be the case … ultimately we made the decision to sign with Suntory, I really enjoyed my first year here.”

Having played 95 tests (27 as captain), the 32-year-old has decided to sign a long-term contract with Suntory in Tokyo. Cane said that his family situation was the main motivating factor for the decision, with wife Harriet expecting another child soon.

“If I was a single bloke then I could just solely worry about myself, probably stick around in New Zealand and go another (World Cup) cycle … but I have to start thinking about others … once you hit that 30-year-old mark you start thinking about life after rugby and how I’m going to provide for my loved ones.”

Incoming All Blacks coach Scott Robertson said: “After discussing this at length with Sam, I fully understand the reasons behind his decision and support him. 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.”

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson also acknowledged Cane’s contribution.

“Sam is a special member of the All Blacks family and we have huge admiration for what he has achieved in the game. He has made significant contribution to New Zealand Rugby, and we are fully supportive of his decision to be with his family,” Robinson said.

32-year-old Cane’s last test for the All Blacks was the 12-11 loss to the Springboks in last year’s Rugby World Cup final in Paris. He was sent off in the first half for a dangerous tackle on Bok centre Jesse Kriel.

It capped off a tumultuous tenure in charge of the All Blacks for Cane, who also oversaw the team’s worst loss ever when they went down 35-7 to the Springboks at Twickenham last August, before rebounding to put on one of the greatest individual performances in the black jersey in the All Blacks’ 28-24 win over Ireland in the World Cup quarter final.

Cane has recently been out of action for Suntory for 10 weeks with a back injury.

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