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Monday May 13, 2024

All Blacks skipper Sam Cane to depart the test arena at the end of 2024

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has confirmed that he will be retiring from International Rugby at the end of the 2024 season following a distinguished 12-year career in the black jersey.

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A Rugby World Cup winner in 2015, Cane picked up where Richie McCaw left off as the first choice number 7 and would go on to earn 95 test caps.

“A good opportunity came my way with Suntory Sungoliath willing to offer me a three-year contract,” Cane said. “It was something we had to seriously consider as a family due to the stage I am at in my career. It will see me through to 2027, when I’ll have my 35th birthday.

“I’ve always thought that if I can play professional rugby for that length of time, I’d be doing really well, considering the position I play and the age at which I started playing professionally.

“I had to weigh everything up, and in the end, with a young family, it seemed like the best decision to help set up our future. It was a very hard one because I love the teams that I represent here in New Zealand.

“We obviously love this country, and we love being around friends and family, but we ultimately made the decision to sign with Suntory, which we’re really excited about. We enjoyed our first year there, and we just thought it was the best thing for our young family.”

Discussing his commitments away from the rugby pitch, Cane highlighted his desire to spend more time with his family as a driving factor behind his decision to step away from the international arena.

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“The fact that Hudson is getting older, he understands when I’m going away but doesn’t understand why. In Japan, we’ll get to spend so much time together as a family,” Cane added.

Transitioning from his role as captain of the All Blacks, Cane said he would remain true to his standing as a senior figure in the camp if called upon.

“It’s part of the natural process that happens in rugby. I had my time as captain, and it was a huge honour and privilege,” Cane said.

“If I’m fortunate enough to be selected in the All Blacks this year then I’ll still be myself. I love that team and I just want to see the All Blacks do well, so if part of my role is contributing leadership off the field or on the field, I’ll be happy to support the new captain as best as I can to help make it a smooth transition for the All Blacks.

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“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.”

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson added: “After discussing this at length with Sam, I fully understand the reasons behind his decision and support him.

“The position he plays asks a lot of you mentally and physically – both of those things ramp up when you are captain. So to do what he’s done over such a long period is an incredible feat. I fully respect him taking this opportunity.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson also acknowledged Cane’s contribution so far and said he looked forward to welcoming him home later this month.

“Sam is a special member of the All Blacks family, and we have huge admiration for what he has achieved in the game. He has made a significant contribution to New Zealand rugby, and we are fully supportive of his decision to be with his family.”

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