The man who propped up the All Blacks re­tires

The Timaru Herald - - SPORT - RUGBY

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.

GETTY IM­AGES/STUFF

Wy­att Crock­ett, left, last year be­came the most capped player in Su­per Rugby his­tory and, right, with prop­ping mate Joe Moody at Cru­saders train­ing.

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