Ex-All Blacks captain Kieran Read retires

Former All Blacks captain and two-time World Cup winner Kieran Read has announced his retirement from professional rugby.

Read took to social media to make the announcement before his Toyota Verblitz team lost to Robbie Deans' Panasonic Wild Knights in the semi-finals of Japan's Top League.

"I'm looking forward to returning to New Zealand and spending time with my family," the 35-year-old said.

Read is the third most-capped All Blacks in history with 127 Test appearances - 52 of them as skipper.

The champion No.8 was a member of New Zealand teams that won the World Cup in 2011 and 2015 and he was voted World Rugby Player of the Year in 2013.

Read also won four Super Rugby titles with New Zealand's Crusaders.

Making his All Blacks debut in 2008, Read assumed the captaincy from Richie McCaw in 2016 and led the All Blacks to the semi-final at the 2019 World Cup before ending his international career in 2020.

"Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby," a post on the official All Blacks Twitter account read.