You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Read happy to sign on with NZ Rugby again

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017 Angelo Risso

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read says a move overseas was never an option as he prepares to lead the Test side into the 2019 World Cup.

The 31-year-old loose forward surprised nobody by re-signing with New Zealand Rugby on a lucrative deal through to 2019 on Wednesday.

He will shift north at the provincial level to join hometown club Counties Manukau, but will remain with the Christchurch-based Crusaders in Super Rugby and at the helm of the All Blacks as they pursue a hat-trick of Rugby World Cup titles in Japan.

Read, who succeeded Richie McCaw after the side's 2015 win, has earned 97 Test caps and will turn 34 during the next World Cup.

He told reporters on Wednesday that he didn't even bother to sound out his overseas options before signing on the dotted line with NZR.

He's the 20th current All Black to sign with NZR to 2019 or beyond.

"I wanted to be here, so there's no point doing that - if I'm still going, I'll look at it in a couple years," Read said at his old school, Rosehill College in Papakura.

"I think I'd always envisaged myself being here until the World Cup in 2019 and it's still a big focus of mine."

The most-capped No.8 in All Blacks history, Read played all of his junior rugby for the Steelers before moving to Canterbury in 2006, aged just 20.

He's unlikely to get much game time for the Pukekohe-based side given his Test obligations, but hoped to sneak in a provincial game or two at some point.

He'll base himself in the Counties Manukau region during the Super Rugby off-season with wife Bridget and their three young children.

"It's a team near and dear to my heart," Read said.

"It was my dream growing up, to wear the shirt - I missed out in my early career, so one day, hopefully.

"It's just about where I can have the biggest impact, it's more than just a personal thing, it's a rugby thing for me."

Read has played just 128 minutes of Super Rugby in 2017, breaking a thumb just three games after returning from an off-season wrist operation.

He is expected to head into the All Blacks' first Test against the British and Irish Lions on June 24 without any game time under his belt.

But Read was optimistic when quizzed on the break, saying he hoped to be back in time for the side's warm-up Test against Samoa on June 16.

"It's a bone break, so what you've got to do is let it heal," Read said.

"The fact is you don't know, really, how it's responding - it's a return to play process, so it gives me two weeks before the Lions test which should be plenty of time."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon