All Blacks captain Kieran Read has clarified his future plans. The 33 year old will lead his country at the World Cup in Japan later this year. He will then remain in the Land of the Rising Sun after the tournament and join Toyota Verblitz.
You can’t blame him for turning down lucrative offers from elsewhere. He could easily have followed the path many of his countrymen have trodden and moved to England or France.
Read has earned two World Cup winners medals and 118 caps in a sparkling career. That made him a big catch for any club. As a result, he was in for a sizeable pay day wherever he went.
He admits that the effects of a lengthy career at the highest level have taken their toll in a physical sense. That drove him to plump for the Japanese game which has a lighter schedule than the Northern Hemisphere competitions.
Family considerations also came into the equation. He has three young children. Being closer to home tipped it in favour of joining Toyota Verblitz.
Read will now focus on the Super Rugby season. He will then sign off from the international scene when he leads the All Blacks in their bid for a third successive triumph at the global tournament in the autumn.
That will mark the end of international rugby for the flanker. He will then play out his final few months in Japan before hanging up his boots. He is surely making the correct choice in easing his way into retirement.
Spectators around the globe should enjoy his swansong and wish him well. He has earned the right to a final fat pay cheque.
Written by Colin Renton