May 20, 2024

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Sam Cane is aiming to pass the 100-test milestone for the New Zealand All Blacks before retiring from international rugby at the end of the 2024 season.

The 32-year-old backrower announced his retirement plans in a statement on Monday.

Cane has been playing club rugby in Japan during a sabbatical and is eligible to be selected for the All Blacks, who open their international season with two tests against England on July 6 and 13.

Cane has played 95 tests for the All Blacks, including 27 as captain.

He scored two tries on debut in 2012 against Ireland in 2012 and was integral in New Zealand’s World Cup victory in 2015.

He has been released from the final year of his New Zealand contract — initially set to end 2025 — to take up a three-year deal with Suntory Goliath in Tokyo.

“If I’m fortunate enough to be selected in the All Blacks this year then I’ll still be myself,” he said. “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.

“I’m really grateful for the time that I had to wear the captain’s armband. It was a huge honor and privilege.”

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AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby