Counties Manukau have confirmed the signing of former All Blacks captain Kieran Read for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup season.
The 128-Test former All Black retired from international rugby after last year’s World Cup and signed on with Toyota Verblitz in Japan’s Top League. His contract runs until the end of the 2021 Japanese season, meaning he will still play for Verblitz next season.
But Read has managed to successfully negotiate a temporary release from his contract with Verblitz and agreed to terms with the Counties Manukau Steelers, a team he supported growing up.
‘While I played a lot of my representative rugby in Christchurch, my roots will always be in Counties Manukau,’ Read told the All Blacks’ official website.
‘I remember going along to games in Pukekohe as a kid and while I’ve been aligned with the province in recent years, my All Blacks commitments have meant I’ve never actually had the chance to pull on the red, black and white hoops in a Mitre 10 Cup game.
‘I’m really excited about the upcoming season and about the prospect of playing provincial rugby in front of my family and friends at Navigation Homes Stadium in the community I grew up in.’
Read, who is based in Christchurch, will link up with the Steelers ahead of their team camp in Ohope in a fortnight’s time and is expected to take part in a pre-season game against Bay of Plenty on 4 September.
‘Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve had a run so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in again,’ he added.
‘I’ve had some good conversations with Steelers head coach Tai Lavea and I’m really excited about the squad he’s been able to assemble.
‘If I can help in any way with these up-and-coming young rugby players that would be fantastic, too.’
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