All Blacks captain Sam Cane to retire from Test rugby in ‘best decision’ for his family

Dylan Coetzee
All Black Sam Cane with ball in hand.

All Black Sam Cane with ball in hand.

All Blacks captain Sam Cane confirmed his time in a New Zealand shirt will come to an end at the end of 2024 as he signed a new three-year deal with Suntory Sungoliath in Tokyo, Japan.

Cane was already at the club from the beginning of the year on a sabbatical and is expected to return to New Zealand before the mid-year Tests where he will be available for All Blacks selection again.

Family consideration

His retirement comes into effect at the end of 2024 and family is at the centre of his decision.

“Having played 95 Tests — 27 as captain — the 32-year-old has decided to focus on spending more time with family and sign a long-term contract with Suntory Goliath in Tokyo,” New Zealand Rugby said in a statement.

Cane admits the decision to stay in Japan was a very hard one to make but insists it is best for the long-term future of his family.

“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 said.

“It was a very hard one because I love the teams that I represent here in New Zealand.”

The former Chiefs man underlined how he is grateful to have captained the All Blacks during the Ian Foster tenure.

“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,” Cane said.

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Respect for Cane

New All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson reportedly chatted with Cane at length about the decision and he supports the veteran while also crediting the flank for his contributions.

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

“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.”

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