New Zealand captain Kieran Read revealed that being closer to home and having a less hectic schedule were his main reasons for snubbing European clubs in favour of a move to Japan.
It was announced on Wednesday that Crusaders number eight Read will end his All Blacks career after the Rugby World Cup and join Toyota Verblitz next year.
Read had been linked with Top 14 heavyweights Racing 92 and a move to England, but felt a switch to the Top League was his best option.
“With three kids and a family it is a lot closer to home,” Read said. “And for my age, and my body, in terms of the amount of footy you play there compared to Europe and the UK. They are probably the main reasons.”
He added: “It was reasonably straightforward. There were different options, but I just really sat down and looked at all the different aspects of making a decision – it really stood out, I guess, in terms of Japan and the Toyota club as well.
“It offered something pretty unique to be there and enjoy a slice of Japan life.”
Reado has announced that 2019 will be his last in NZ What an incredible career which began with us in 2007! Read the full release over at https://t.co/r3GPTZLVHH #crusaderforlife pic.twitter.com/sAqKcVpgKN
— BNZ Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) March 6, 2019
The two-time World Cup winner knows it will be tough when the time comes to depart after so many years at the top with the All Blacks and Crusaders.
“I think it is always hard leaving a place that I have been a part of for a number of years, 13 years or so. So that will be hard when I get to that point,” said the 2013 World Rugby Player of the Year.
“Right now, to be honest, it’s just a decision being made and I am sure when we get to the end of the season with the Crusaders and All Blacks there will be different emotions coming on then.
“I enjoy what I do and I love what New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders have given me in that time.”
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