All Blacks captain Sam Cain to join Suntory in 2024
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All Blacks captain Sam Cain to join Suntory in 2024

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has signed a sabbatical contract with Japanese club Suntory but will return home to play for New Zealand Rugby in June 2024, New Zealand’s rugby governing body said on Thursday.

All Blacks captain Sam Cain to join Suntory in 2024

The 31-year-old flanker became the first player to be sent off in a Rugby World Cup final when he was red-carded in New Zealand’s 12-11 loss to South Africa last weekend.

Kane will miss out on the chance to represent the Waikato Chiefs in Super Rugby, which begins in February 2024, but will make his comeback in time to be selected for the All Blacks’ Test series against England and defend their Rugby Championship title under the new rules. Head coach Scott Robertson.

“It wasn’t an easy decision not to play for the Chiefs for a season, but I know the team is in good shape,” Kane said in a statement.

“I’m really pleased to be back in time to be at my best for the All Blacks.”

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said, “Few players have given as much as he has and it shows his commitment to the All Blacks that he will be back and ready for this season’s Test matches.”

Suntory finished third in last season’s Japan Rugby League Division One, but lost to eventual champions Kubota Spears in the semi-finals of the Final Four.

Kane’s All Blacks teammates Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie have both played for the Tokyo-based club in recent years.

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