The man who propped up the All Blacks retires
Veteran All Blacks and Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett has retired from international rugby.
The 35-year-old announced yesterday that 2018 will also be his last season with the Crusaders but he will stay in New Zealand having signed a two-year deal to play for the Tasman Mako in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Crockett, who last year became the most capped Super Rugby player in history, has won 71 caps for the All Blacks since his international debut in 2008.
He was part of the All Blacks squad that won the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
‘‘It is never an easy thing to know when the time is right, but my family have made a number of sacrifices over the past 13 years which have allowed me to live out my dream,’’ he said in a statement.
‘‘Now it’s time for me to give back to them, simply by being there more than I have been able to as a professional rugby player.
‘‘I intend on making the most of my last season with the Crusaders, enjoying every minute of it and giving this team everything I’ve got.’’
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen led the tributes to Crockett, saying he’s been a great servant of the game.
‘‘On behalf of the All Blacks, I want to thank ‘Crocky’ for everything he has done for the team.
‘‘I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank his wife Jenna for the sacrifices the family made to allow him to be available to play the game for as long as he has.’’
Crockett was part of Scott Robertson’s Crusaders side who won the Super Rugby title last year.
Robertson said: ‘‘Crocky leaves behind a fantastic legacy here at the Crusaders.
‘‘He provides leadership every time he takes the field and his mindset is never to give any less than 100 per cent.’’
Crockett was born in Christchurch but raised in Golden Bay, near Nelson. He made his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2005 before first featuring for the Crusaders the following year.
In 2011, Crockett was New Zealand Super Rugby player of the year and he holds the record for playing in 49 consecutive undefeated tests for the All Blacks from 2012 to 2017.
After the Crusaders beat the Chiefs 45-23 in Christchurch on Saturday, Crockett had 187 Super Rugby caps to his name.
Wyatt Crockett, left, last year became the most capped player in Super Rugby history and, right, with propping mate Joe Moody at Crusaders training.