All Blacks great Kieran Read has retired from rugby.
Read had said he would end his career at the end of the Japan Top League season, and his Toyota Verblitz side suffered a 48-21 semi-final defeat against the Panasonic Wild Knights on Sunday.
In a post on social media, Read said: "I'm looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family."
"Thank you to the @toyotaverblitz team for the friendships I will hold onto for my lifetime, it's been a challenging time for everyone involved but proud of the direction we are heading," Read wrote on Instagram.
"Also, a massive thanks to all the fans of rugby in Japan for your support."
Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby. pic.twitter.com/zOCybXOr5G— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) May 15, 2021
Read was part of two New Zealand World Cup-winning sides, earning 127 caps for the All Blacks to put him third all-time in that regard. Richie McCaw tops the list with 148 Test caps.
He played 52 of his Tests as skipper and was the 66th captain of New Zealand. Only McCaw (110) made more appearances as captain of the All Blacks.
With 107 victories, Read is one of only five players to win 100 Test matches, along with fellow All Blacks McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Sam Whitelock.
His run of 19 consecutive victories as All Blacks captain from 2012 to 2016 is a record.