Famed All Blacks winger Joe Rokocoko has retired from rugby.
Fijian-born Rokocoko, who is joint second with Julian Savea and Christian Cullen on the All Blacks’ all-time try scorers tally, announced his retirement on social media.
He has finished his career with Racing 92 in Paris, where he has been for five seasons.
“It has been the best ride ever,” Rokocoko says in an Instagram post, which shows photos from throughout his rugby career going back to the Weymouth club in Manurewa when he was an 11-year-old.
“As I sit here I want to express all the gratitude and the peace I feel after reaching the end of this journey,” Rokocoko says in his post.
“A fabulous journey that God started for me when I was just a skinny Fijian kid living in South Auckland , taking me from my very first club in Weymouth in 1994, through to my retirement 2019 from Racing 92 in Paris.
“Throughout this adventure I was incredibly blessed to have been a part of some special teams and to have met so many special people along the way.’
After a great season for the Blues, Rokocoko burst into the All Blacks in 2003 and made a sensational impact. He scored 25 tries in his first 20 tests and eclipsed Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen in setting a new single-season record for test tries for the All Blacks, with 17. He was named International Rugby Players’ Association new player of the year as a result.
He was renowned for his blistering pace and athleticism in dodging tackles.
He played 68 tests over seven years, scoring 46 tries, which places him equal second with Savea and Cullen, three behind the record holder, Doug Howlett
In his post, Rokocoko thanked his parents for sacrificing so much so he could have a rugby career.
“I will never forget the feeling of owning my first boots that Mum bought from the local garage sale in Manurewa.”
He thanked his family and friends, “most specially to my wife Beverley and my three boys Cypress, Clément and Cruden for being so patient all this time, letting me chase my dreams around the world and always believing in me even when there were times I didn’t believe in myself.”
Rokocoko is one of 11 Fijian-born players to make the All Blacks, with the latest being Sevu Reece, who has shown Rokocoko-like try-scoring skills in making the current Rugby World Cup squad.
This content was originally published here.