All Blacks captain Kieran Read

All Blacks captain Read hurt in comeback

Read was making his first appearance this year after an extended off-season but went down for a lengthy spell of treatment on his right leg after about 20 minutes of the first half at Wellington Regional Stadium.

He limped to the next play, a lineout down field where captain Sam Whitelock called him as the target, and saw out the rest of the first half but was replaced at half-time by coach Scott Robertson.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read announces international retirement

"Every young rugby player in New Zealand dreams of the opportunities I have had to represent the All Blacks and the Crusaders, and I know I'll look back at the end of the year with a great deal of pride to have worn those jerseys for as long as I have," Read said.

"My family and I are looking forward to an overseas experience and Japan presents an awesome opportunity to immerse ourselves in Japanese culture as part of the Toyota club.

"I feel the time is right to make this announcement on my playing future, so that I can focus my efforts on the season ahead."

Broken thumb puts Read in doubt for Lions

The Crusaders are unbeaten in their nine games so far this season.

Reid was forced from the field shortly before halftime, in what was only this third game of the season, having started the super rugby campaign late after off-season wrist surgery.

RNZ reports Reid will have surgery in South Africa.

His injury would be concerning for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen with the first test against the Lions in Auckland just eight weeks away.