Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns legend Kendra Cocksedge announces impending retirement

Black Ferns legend Kendra Cocksedge has announced she will retire after the Rugby World Cup, beginning in October.

New Zealand's most capped player with 64, and top scorer will step away from all forms of rugby, following an illustrious career in the black jersey and for Canterbury.

Cocksedge, 34, will play her 99th game for Canterbury in their Farah Palmer Cup semi-final on Sunday, but believes the time is right to focus on the next chapter in her career.

"From the age of four, I dreamt of being an All Black, until I realised it simply wasn't possible. However, at 19, my rugby dreams were realised, and I was named in the Black Ferns," she posted to her Instagram account.

"After 15 years in the black jersey, I sit here and reflect on my childhood dream.  I feel incredibly fortunate for the experiences rugby has given me. 

"I've had more opportunities than I can count and have had incredible people alongside me who've inspired me to be my best every day.

"I never could have imagined I'd achieve all that I have, and I am so excited about the future of women's rugby and the new generation of players, coaches, and referees.

I have decided 2022 will be my last year playing the game I love. However, it's not over for me yet. I have a massive job ahead of me. 

"I am determined to finish on a high, wearing the red and black in the Farah Palmer Cup. I will also do all I can to earn my spot in the Black Ferns and fulfill my dream of playing in a Rugby World Cup on my home turf.

"It has been my greatest honour to represent my club, my province and my country.

"There are so many people who have contributed to my journey, I didn't earn the black jersey alone. I thank you all for your support and aroha. I hope I have made you proud."

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson praised Cocksedge for what has been an unparalleled career.

"Kendra is a legend of the game. Her success is without peer, and it is testament to her work ethic to have such an enduring career in the black jersey," he said.

"She is widely respected on and off the field as a fierce competitor and genuine leader in the women's game. While we are sad to see the end of her playing career, we know she is not lost to the game, and she will continue to have a positive impact in rugby for years to come."