All Blacks captain Read signs new deal until 2019

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Kieran Read has signed a fresh deal with New Zealand and the Crusaders until 2019, the All Blacks have confirmed.

A two-time World Cup winner, captain Read has 97 Test caps to his name since making his debut in 2008 and has more international appearances than any number eight in All Blacks history.

Read will hope to reach a century of caps when he leads New Zealand against the British and Irish Lions in a three-Test series beginning next month, although his participation has been thrown into some doubt by a broken thumb picked up playing for Crusaders at the end of April, which required surgery.

The deal also sees Read tied to Counties Manukau, ending his long association with Canterbury.

"I love playing for the All Blacks and Crusaders, love playing alongside my team-mates and love the respective cultures, so it was an easy decision for me to recommit to New Zealand Rugby," Read said, after initially announcing the news at an assembly at his old school, Rosehill College in Papakura.

"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.

"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."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen added: "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."