Rugby: All Black hero to retire

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The Independent Online
John Kirwan, the most capped player and highest try scorer in All Black history, is to retire from rugby at the end of the season. Kirwan, 29, played in 63 Tests for the All Blacks and scored 35 tries in a 10-year international career, the highlight of which was winning the inaugural World Cup in 1987. But his Test career ended in bitter disappointment when he was left out of the All Black squad for their Bledisloe Cup defeat against Australia. Kirwan has been critical of the All Black coach Laurie Mains and this effectively ruled him out of possible selection for next year's World Cup in South Africa. Kirwan said: 'I don't think I can give the game the commitment it deserves and needs. I've always been a player that's lacked the real raw ability but has had to work hard at my game and I don't think I can do that any more.' Kirwan will bow out by captaining the New Zealand Barbarians against the Australian Barbarians in Auckland next Friday. South Africa B left it until the final minutes to edge to a 25-21 win over the Emerging Wallabies in Johannesburg. The second-stringers' fly-half Lance Sherrell kicked a penalty and a drop goal in the last five minutes.

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