All Black centre Ryan Crotty announced on Monday that he will end his international career after the World Cup in Japan.
The 30-year-old Crotty said that after 11 seasons playing Super Rugby that the time is right to make a change.
“Christchurch will always be home, but I’m really looking forward to taking on a new challenge in the Top League as part of the Kubota Spears club,” he said.
Crotty appeared in 44 tests so far, after making his international debut in 2013 against Australia.
“Crotts has been one of the mainstays of our midfield for many years and is a world-class footballer,” said national coach Steve Hansen, who is also heading for the exit after New Zealand’s campaign for a third straight World Cup.
“He’s a very physical, well-balanced rugby player, an outstanding communicator and decision-maker, who runs great lines and has a great pass.”
All Black captain Kieran Read will also move to Japan after the global showpiece.
Sam Whitelock looks set to be the next captain for the national side.
Rumor has it that he wants to take a sabbatical in Japan after the World Cup and then only return after that to New Zealand.
Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett are also eyeing a sabbatical.
Star midfielder Sonny Bill Williams has not made any decisions on his future as yet, while prop Owen Franks will join up with the Northampton Saints.
Crotty has played in over 130 Super Rugby matches and will surely go down as one of the best players that Canterbury has ever produced.
He will turn 31 during the World Cup in September.
Written by Carl Coertzen
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