Wellington: All Blacks captain Kieran Read announced Wednesday he will retire from international rugby after this year’s World Cup to play for Japanese club Toyota Verblitz.

The two-time World Cup winner, who will be chasing a third straight trophy this year, said the time felt right to leave.

“My family and I are looking forward to an overseas experience and Japan presents an awesome opportunity to immerse ourselves in Japanese culture as part of the Toyota club,” the 33-year-old veteran of 118 Tests said.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen wished the No. 8 well after an “outstanding” career.

“He’s developed into a fantastic leader who has the utmost respect of all his peers,” Hansen said.

“What he has achieved has been remarkable, and it’s fair to say that he is one of the greats of our game.”