In recognition of his roots, Read has also revealed he is returning to the province where he was born and raised, and has signed with Counties Manukau through to 2019.
31-year-old Read made the announcement in front of an excited school assembly at his old school, Rosehill College, in Papakura this morning.
The 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. He is the most capped All Blacks number eight in history and the seventh most capped All Black of all time. Read made his Super debut in 2007 and has played more than 130 times for the Crusaders.
“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. 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,” Read said.
Read said he made the decision to sign with Counties Manukau because Papakura was his hometown and the region was “where my heart lies.”
“I grew up playing my rugby in Drury and remember going to the old Growers Stadium to watch Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri carve up for Counties and I played age-grade rugby for the province. It was important for me to come full circle and sign with the province where it all started and hopefully give something back to the community I love.
“I’d like to thank Canterbury Rugby who supported my decision to sign with Counties Manukau. I’d like to also thank them for all the opportunities they gave me since I first played for the province back in 2006. They were instrumental in my rugby development, I had some fantastic times there, especially winning the provincial competition in 2008, and I’m extremely grateful for everything they did for me.”
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew, who was in attendance at Rosehill College this morning, said Read was an inspirational leader.
“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 said: “Reado has developed into one of the key players in world rugby, and whilst he’s in the infancy of his leadership reign with the All Blacks, he’s growing rapidly and has massive support from us all in the team. He’s well respected and brings a lot of calmness through his experience in the jersey in those tight moments. 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.”
Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson added: “Kieran is a key member of the BNZ Crusaders, both as an exceptional player and leader, so we are thrilled to have him on board through to 2019 at least. The natural athletic talent he has is incredible, but he’s the type of person who would never take that for granted and he works hard every single day to be better than the day before. That is what makes him such a standout player and member of the team.”
Read joins a number of All Blacks who have signed through to 2019 and beyond, including Sam Whitelock, All Blacks Vice-Captain Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, 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.