READ RE­MAINS AN ALL BLACK

Cap­tain signs deal through to 2019 World Cup

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ALL Blacks cap­tain Kieran Read has signed a deal to stay in New Zealand rugby through to the 2019 World Cup in Ja­pan. No 8 Read, a dou­ble Rugby World Cup cham­pion and 2013 World Player of the Year, has played 97 Tests for the All Blacks since mak­ing his de­but in 2008, 22 as cap­tain.

“I love play­ing for the All Blacks and Cru­saders, love play­ing along­side my team­mates and love the re­spec­tive cul­tures, so it was an easy de­ci­sion for me to recom­mit to New Zealand Rugby,” the 31-year-old said af­ter sign­ing the two-year deal with NZ Rugby, Super Rugby fran­chise Cru­saders and Coun­ties Manukau.

“There are some pretty ex­cit­ing things com­ing up over the next few years, es­pe­cially the Rugby World Cup at the end of 2019, so I’m def­i­nitely look­ing for­ward to that.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew added: “He’s a gen­uine world-class ath­lete, has grown im­mensely since tak­ing over the cap­taincy of the All Blacks last year and com­mands huge re­spect from his peers. We are thrilled that he has ex­tended his con­tract through to the end of 2019.”

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen dubbed Read “one of the key play­ers in world rugby.”

“It’s won­der­ful that he has com­mit­ted through to the next Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan. We’re all look­ing for­ward to work­ing with him go­ing for­ward,” Hansen said.

A num­ber of key All Blacks have signed through to 2019 along­side Read, in­clud­ing Sam White­lock, All Blacks vice-cap­tain Ben Smith, An­ton LienertBrown, Owen Franks, Is­rael Dagg, Brodie Re­tal­lick, Aaron Smith, Ju­lian Savea, Dane Coles, Sonny Bill Wil­liams, Joe Moody, Pa­trick Tuip­u­lotu, Liam Squire, Nathan Har­ris and Liam Colt­man. AFP

Kieran Read has played 97 Tests for the All Blacks since his de­but in 2008.

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