In the infancy of his professional rugby playing career, a 21-year-old Read was picked to room with McCaw while the pair were playing for Canterbury.
The 148-test ex-All Black was someone that Read had looked up to while coming through the ranks.
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In fact, McCaw had already been appointed as captain of the All Blacks at that stage of his career, despite being just five years older than Read.
As a revered rugby figure throughout New Zealand and a personal hero of Read’s, the 34-year-old saw it as a daunting prospect to be sharing a room with his idol.
“I remember watching him with my mates at school. We’d come home and watch the All Black games. Absolutely he was a hero of mine,” Read told TVNZ‘s Seven Sharp.
“As a young fella you’re looking through seeing who’s rooming with you and then, yeah, I was s******* myself.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 15, 2019
At that point in time, Read was only three years out of Auckland’s Rosehill College, and hoped that his unorthodox rugby journey as a schoolboy could help inspire others.
He attended elite private school St Kentigern College in Auckland for a year on a scholarship, but returned to the less-esteemed south Auckland school, where he went on to become head boy.
“If I look at my first XV career with Rosehill College, for me it was just fun. We literally had to scrap together 22 guys to be there on the weekend for our team. We had one rugby team out of 2000 kids at the school,” he said.
“It definitely does [the cream rises to the top]. I don’t think you need to head down that route. Those schools are fantastic and they‘ve got coaching and gyms, but we trained twice a week.
“I probably didn’t know about a gym until my last few months of the year at school in seventh form.
“If you give yourself time and generally work hard at it, you’ll make it.”
Read called time on his All Blacks career following New Zealand’s World Cup campaign in Japan, where they finished third after losing to England in the semi-final.
The 127-cap loose forward will now move to Japan, where he will link with Top League club Toyota Verblitz.
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