All Blacks Captain Sam Cane to Retire from Test Rugby in 2024

New Zealand Rugby captain Sam Cane will retire from Test rugby at the end of 2024 to focus on family and sign with Tokyo's Suntory Goliath. Cane has played 95 Tests, 27 as captain, and won the 2015 World Cup and two Super Rugby titles.

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Bijay Laxmi
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All Blacks Captain Sam Cane to Retire from Test Rugby in 2024

All Blacks Captain Sam Cane to Retire from Test Rugby in 2024

New Zealand Rugby announced on Monday that captain Sam Cane will retire from Test rugby at the end of 2024, bringing an end to his 12-year international career. The 32-year-old has played 95 Tests, 27 as captain, and has decided to focus on spending more time with his family and sign a long-term contract with Suntory Goliath in Tokyo.

Cane cited the prospect of a three-year deal with the high-spending Tokyo club as too good to pass up, saying, "I had to weigh up everything and, in the end, with a young family, it seemed like the best decision to help set up our future." He also acknowledged the challenges of being captain, stating, "The position he plays asks a lot of you mentally and physically -- both of those things ramp up when you are cane, set, retire."

Cane won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2015 and has twice been part of Super Rugby championship-winning sides with the Waikato Chiefs. However, his experience as captain was not always smooth, with struggles with form and a red card in the 2022 Rugby World Cup final.

black, cane, set, long, term, deal Recently arrived All Blacks coach Scott Robertson said he fully understands and supports Cane's decision, stating, "I fully respect him taking this opportunity." Robertson acknowledged the demands of being captain, saying, "So to do what he's done over such a long period is an incredible feat."

Cane will return to New Zealand at the end of the current Japanese club season and will be eligible to be selected for the All Blacks for the rest of 2024, but will no longer be captain. He reflected on his time as captain, saying, "I'm really grateful for the time that I had to wear the captain's armband. It was a huge honour and privilege -- a lot of lessons out of it and growth."

Former All Blacks coach Ian Foster praised Cane's contributions, saying, "Sam's put a lot into the jersey. He's obviously made this decision about his future. He should be very proud of his career." Foster acknowledged that Cane faced criticism during his captaincy but defended how he handled the pressure, stating, "He stayed true to himself. He didn't try to be anyone else other than Sam Cane. He made sure he grew the things and focused on the strengths of his game."

Sam Cane has played 95 tests for the All Blacks, including 27 as captain. He was integral to New Zealand's World Cup victory in 2015 and has won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs. Cane will take up a three-year deal with Tokyo Sungoliath in Japan from 2025 but remains eligible for All Blacks selection through the end of 2024. His contributions and leadership, while not without challenges, have left an indelible mark on New Zealand rugby as he enters the final phase of his distinguished international career.

Key Takeaways

  • Sam Cane to retire from Test rugby at end of 2024 after 12-year career.
  • Cane signs 3-year deal with Tokyo's Suntory Goliath, citing family and future.
  • He played 95 Tests, 27 as captain, and won 2015 World Cup with New Zealand.
  • Cane remains eligible for All Blacks selection until end of 2024.
  • Coaches and teammates praise Cane's contributions and leadership.