Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read has made a return to New Zealand Rugby after was signed by Counties Manukau for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup campaign.
Read has played 127 Tests for New Zealand since his international debut in 2008 and took over the captaincy following the retirement of Richie McCaw post the victorious 2015 World Cup campaign. Injuries did hamper most of his playing career last year but captained the New Zealand side in the 2019 World Cup following which he quit international rugby.
Following his international retirement he joined Toyota Verblitz but with the Japanese Top League 2020 cancelled following the pandemic coronavirus, Read has decided to be part of Southern Auckland club which he had earlier represented in 2017 and 2018.
"Obviously it has been a while since I've had a run so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in again," said Read.
"If I can help in any way with these up-and-coming young rugby players that would be fantastic too."
Meanwhile, Counties Manukau Chief Executive Aaron Lawton is excited about securing the services of Read and is confident that his experience will help the other players in the side.
"Never in a million years would we have thought at the start of the year when we were beginning to put together our squad that a player of Kieran's calibre would be available," Lawton said.
"We are beyond excited about having him on deck this year and are hoping our rugby community really get behind him."
Counties Manukau will face Tasman in their opening game scheduled to be played in Pukekohe on 12th September.