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Ryan Crotty confirms he will move to Japan after World Cup

Ryan Crotty becomes latest star to join All Blacks exodus as he confirms he will move to Japan after World Cup… but scrum-half Aaron Smith is retained

  • The All Blacks have confirmed Ryan Crotty will move to Japan after World Cup
  • He is the latest player to commit his future to a club outside of New Zealand
  • However, the All Blacks did announce Aaron Smith has re-signed for three years 

Ryan Crotty has joined the exodus of senior All Blacks who will move to Japan after the Rugby World Cup later this year, while his team-mate Aaron Smith re-signed with New Zealand Rugby for the next two years. 

Crotty confirmed on Monday he will join Japanese club Kubota Spears after the global showpiece this autumn.

‘I know I’ll look back at the end of my career in New Zealand with really fond memories of the experiences I’ve had and what I’ve achieved alongside my good mates,’ the 30-year-old midfield back said. 

Ryan Crotty will leave the Crusaders after the World Cup to sign for a Japanese club

Ryan Crotty will leave the Crusaders after the World Cup to sign for a Japanese club

Ryan Crotty will leave the Crusaders after the World Cup to sign for a Japanese club

The centre joins Kieran Read, Owen Franks and Ben Smith as the stars to leave New Zealand

The centre joins Kieran Read, Owen Franks and Ben Smith as the stars to leave New Zealand

The centre joins Kieran Read, Owen Franks and Ben Smith as the stars to leave New Zealand

ALL BLACKS EXODUS 

Kieran Read – Toyota Verblitz (Japan)

Owen Franks – Northampton Saints (England)

Ben Smith –  Pau (France)

Ryan Crotty – Kubota Spears (Japan) 

‘For now my focus is enjoying the season ahead and helping to lead this Crusaders side one last time in 2019.’

Crotty has played 44 Tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2013. He has been hampered by a number of injuries that have curtailed his career, with concerns over a series of concussions he had last year. 

Smith’s signature, meanwhile, is a boost for the All Blacks with several players like full-back Ben Smith, captain Kieran Read and tighthead prop Owen Franks all signing with offshore clubs at the conclusion of the World Cup in November.

The 30-year-old scrum-half has also signed with his Super Rugby team the Otago Highlanders until 2021 and forms part of a core group of senior players that will see the All Blacks into the next World Cup cycle.

‘We’re delighted to have re-signed Aaron through to 2021,’ NZR chief executive Steve Tew said on Monday.

‘He’s a proven world-class player, the most capped All Blacks halfback ever and an incredibly important member of the All Blacks and Highlanders.’

However, All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith has signed a two-year extension with NZR

However, All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith has signed a two-year extension with NZR

However, All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith has signed a two-year extension with NZR

Smith joins hookers Dane Coles and Codie Taylor and loose forwards Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, and outside backs Damian McKenzie and Rieko Ioane, among the players who have committed to stay in New Zealand.

‘New Zealand Rugby has been working incredibly hard on the retention of our key players,’ Tew added.

‘While it’s inevitable that some will move on following the Rugby World Cup, we’ll still have a core of experience in the All Blacks post 2019, and Aaron will be a key part of that group.’

Smith has played 82 Tests for New Zealand since making his debut in 2012.

He has also played 129 games for the Dunedin-based Highlanders, but is currently recovering from an ankle injury that could keep him out of action for another five weeks.

The Highlanders host the Wellington Hurricanes in Dunedin on Friday.

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