Read to play 100th Super Rugby match
All Black enforcer Kieran Read will play his 100th game for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes on Friday.
LONDON - New Zealand forward Kieran Read will play his 100th Super Rugby match as the Crusaders look to continue their resurgence against New Zealand rivals, the Hurricanes, in Christchurch on Friday.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has named an unchanged starting lineup, meaning the 28-year-old number eight will lead the side out at AMI Stadium seven years after his 2007 debut.
Born in south Auckland, Read was snapped up by the South Island region of Canterbury a year out of high school, the start of a career that has featured a World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011 and the IRB Player of the Year award last year.
"This is my team. I have been playing for the Crusaders virtually since my professional rugby career began and I feel very proud to have represented this team for 100 games," Read said in a statement on the team's website.
"When you look at the other players who have achieved 100 games for the Crusaders, you realise what an honour it is.
"Being selected for an award is one thing, but being selected for the Crusaders team 100 times is a real reflection of the hard work I've put in over the years and something I can feel truly proud of."
Read, who was promoted to the captaincy last year in the absence of New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw, will lead a Crusaders side that has improved to 2-2 after losing both of their opening matches in the southern hemisphere tournament.
Blackadder paid tribute to the explosive backrower, who terrorised opposing defences during the All Blacks' unbeaten season last year.
"He's one of ours. He's red and black through and through," Blackadder told local reporters.
"He's a big guy, he's dynamic and he's got an offload... And defensively he is a hard hitter, he creates a lot of impact every time he takes the field."