Former All Blacks Captain Kieran Read has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours list. The 34-year-old, who retired from the All Blacks at the end of RWC2019, has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to rugby.

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New Zealand Rugby paid tribute to their ex-skipper. CEO Mark Robinson said on their AllBlacks.com that: “On behalf of everyone involved in New Zealand rugby, I want to congratulate Kieran on his honour. He’s the epitome of rugby’s values, has been hugely influential as a player and a person, and has a real connection with people. He is a warrior on the field and a gentleman off it and he and his family can be incredibly proud of everything he has given to the game.”

Read, who is contracted with Toyota Verblitz in Japan until 2021, is back in New Zealand to be with his family in Christchurch following the suspension of the Japanese Top League because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lawrence Dallagio relives the 1997 Lions tour with Jim.

While Read, like many players in New Zealand, has been left pondering if he would end up seeing out his contract overseas, he has indicated his interest in playing in this season’s Mitre 10 Cup, which is due to start on September 11.

Read represented New Zealand at Secondary Schools, Under 19, Under 21 and Junior All Blacks level, making his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2006. His Investec Super Rugby debut with the Crusaders followed in 2007.

2008 was a huge year for the inspirational No. 8; he won his first Super Rugby title with the BNZ Crusaders, and captained Canterbury to their 2008 provincial title. In November that same year, he made his All Blacks debut against Scotland.

Read first stood in as captain for the Crusaders while Richie McCaw was injured during their 2011 Investec Super Rugby campaign, and became the regular captain of the team in 2013, before Sam Whitelock took the helm in 2017. He played his 100th Super Rugby match for the BNZ Crusaders in 2014 and is currently fifth equal (alongside Richie McCaw) in the list of most capped Crusaders. In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he added two more Super Rugby titles to his name with the Christchurch-based club.

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