All Blacks: Ryan Crotty confirms New Zealand departure at end of 2019

Ryan Crotty in action for the Crusaders.
Ryan Crotty in action for the Crusaders. Photo credit: Photosport

Ryan Crotty's days in an All Blacks jersey are numbered after he confirmed his depatrture from New Zealand rugby at the end of the season.

The Crusaders midfielder will link up with Japanese club Kubota Spears.

The news comes mere hours after fellow All Black Aaron Smith committed a further two years to New Zealand Rugby.

Crotty has played more than 100 games for the Crusaders since debuting against the Hurricanes in 2009.

"The All Blacks, Crusaders and Canterbury rugby have been such an important part of my life and I'm grateful for every opportunity I've had to represent my country, my province and my family over the years," Crotty said.

"I'm a proud Cantabrian and Christchurch will always be home, but I'm really looking forward to taking on a new challenge in the Top League as part of the Kubota Spears club.

"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, but for now my focus is enjoying the season ahead and helping to lead this Crusaders side one last time in 2019."

Crotty made his All Blacks debut against the Wallabies in Sydney in 2013 and has earned 44 caps in the black jersey to date, scoring nine tries.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said, "Crotts has been one of the mainstays of our midfield for many years and is a world-class footballer.  He's a very physical, well-balanced rugby player, an outstanding communicator and decision-maker, who runs great lines and has a great pass.

"He's been a real asset to the All Blacks, Crusaders and Canterbury and will leave New Zealand rugby at the end of the season with our very best wishes."

A former member of the Shirley Boys' High School First XV, Crotty represented New Zealand Schools in 2006, New Zealand Under 19 in 2007 and was part of the New Zealand Under 20 side that won the inaugural Junior World Championship in 2008.

Newshub.

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