All Blacks captain Sam Cane to retire from international rugby at end of 2024

Publish Date
Monday, 13 May 2024, 2:19PM

All Blacks captain Sam Cane will call time on his international career at the end of the 2024 season, in order to take up a contract with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath, as the veteran loose forward concedes he won’t captain the All Blacks in 2024.

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby confirmed the news that Cane will walk away from the test arena at the end of the upcoming season, 12 years after making his international debut.

From 2025, Cane will take up a three-year contract with Suntory, where the 32-year-old has spent the start of 2024 on a sabbatical.

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

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

Since his debut, Cane has played 95 tests for the All Blacks and has been captain since 2020, following the retirement of Kieran Read.

At club level, he made 150 appearances for the Chiefs and was part of the side that won back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013 under Dave Rennie.

While there is uncertainty over the future of the All Blacks’ captaincy, Cane says he intends to continue to push for selection this year, once back from Japan.

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

“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.

“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.”

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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