Sam Cane retires from Test rugby


Sam Cane, the New Zealand rugby captain, will retire from Test rugby at the end of the year.

The 32-year-old Kiwi announced on Monday that he will be hanging up his Test rugby boots after 12 years.

Cane played in 95 tests for the All Blacks and captained this team in 27 of them.

The All Blacks have not yet trotted out on the field again after their thrashing against the Springboks in last year’s Rugby World Cup tournament in France. Cane was already on sabbatical in Japan.

“He wants to spend more time with his family and hopes to sign a long-term contract with Suntory Goliath in Tokyo,” said New Zealand Rugby.

Cane said the prospect of a rewarding three-year contract with the Tokyo club was too good to let slip through his fingers.

“I had to weigh everything and finally, with a young family in mind, it seemed like the best decision for our future,” he said.

“It was a very difficult decision, because I love the teams I represent here in New Zealand.”

Cane won the World Cup tournament in 2015 with New Zealand and was twice a member of the Waikato Chiefs when they were crowned Super Rugby champions.

He took over the captaincy from Kieran Read in 2020.

Cane has struggled with his own performance at times and was sent off in the 28th minute of last year’s World Cup final.

With talents such as Ardie Savea and Dalton Papalii also available there were rumors that Cane might be left out of the squad.

During his captaincy, New Zealand lost a first test series at home against Ireland in 2022 and a few weeks later suffered a shocking defeat against Argentina in Christchurch.

“I’m really grateful for the time I was the captain. It was a great honor and privilege; there were a lot of lessons and growth,” Cane said.

Scott Robertson, who recently took over the coaching reins of the All Blacks, said they discussed the contract in detail in Japan.

“I fully understand the reasons behind his decision and support him,” Robertson said.

“The position he plays requires a lot from you mentally and physically; both of these things increase when you are captain. To do what he did over such a long period of time is an incredible achievement. I fully respect that he took this opportunity.”

Cane will return to New Zealand at the end of the Japanese club season. He is available to serve for the All Blacks, but will not captain the team.

“It’s part of the natural process that goes on in rugby,” Cane said.

“I had my time as captain and it was a great honor and privilege.”