All Blacks captain Sam Cane will join Japanese club Tokyo Sungoliath for the 2024 season, the New Zealand federation announced on Friday. Cane, who is taking a break from his contract with New Zealand Rugby, will return to the country in June to be eligible to play with the vice-world champions. The third row had experienced a painful World Cup final in France less than a week ago, lost 12-11 against South Africa, and during which he was sanctioned with a red card.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 presented itself, it seemed like the right time, after the World Cup, to try something new,” said Sam Cane, who will be reunited with the winger at his new club. South African Chelsin Kolbe, recent World Cup winner. The Japanese rugby season will begin in December and end in May 2024, so the 31-year-old will not play for the Chiefs - with whom he has played since 2011 - whose 2024 Super Rugby campaign will begin in February. The All Blacks will host England in a series of test matches next year, before beginning the defense of their Rugby Championship title, under the leadership of their new coach Scott Robertson.