All Blacks Captain Kieran Read headed back to school today, Wednesday 24 May, for a special event.
The inspirational loose forward announced he has signed a new two-year contract with New Zealand Rugby and the BNZ Crusaders through to the end of 2019.
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.
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.”
“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.
Counties Manukau RFU CEO Bart Hoggard said, “We’re extremely proud that the All Blacks Captain is not only a local Rosehill College old boy but is also an individual of the highest calibre. Kieran is intelligent, dedicated, loyal and a great inspiration to New Zealand children. We’re very excited about welcoming Kieran, Bridget and their three children back to the region and the Counties family.”
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.”