All Blacks great Kieran Read’s storied playing career came to an end over the weekend as Toyota Verblitz were beaten in the Japanese Top League semi-finals.
Read, who wore the famous black jersey for more than a decade, had already walked away from the test arena with his final international appearance coming at Rugby World Cup 2019.
From his entrance to the international stage in Edinburgh to his farewell in Tokyo, we recap his remarkable test career by looking at the incredible numbers that underpinned it.
Thank you, Reado. We wish you all the best in your retirement from professional rugby. pic.twitter.com/zOCybXOr5G— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) May 15, 2021
Two — Rugby World Cup titles won. Read played the full 80 minutes of both finals at RWC 2011 and RWC 2015 as the All Blacks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup at successive tournaments.
Three — tries at Rugby World Cup. His first tournament score came against Argentina on 9 October, 2011, during a 33-10 quarter-final win over Argentina at Eden Park. Read’s next Rugby World Cup try came against Georgia at England 2015 and he subsequently notched a second last-eight score against France in Cardiff.
Five — yellow cards. Read was sin-binned on five occasions during his long test career. His first came during a 29-15 victory against South Africa, a game in which he captained the All Blacks and also scored two tries. Read’s last yellow card came against Argentina in 2017 — a match in which he also crossed the whitewash twice.
Six — the jersey number in which Read made his All Blacks debut. He played 80 minutes against Scotland at Murrayfield on 8 November, 2008, as New Zealand won 32-6. Read would line up as a blindside flanker on only one subsequent occasion — against France a year later — in a test match.
Eight — the jersey number with which Read became synonymous. Read first wore the All Blacks’ number eight jersey against France in Wellington on 20 June, 2009, as the hosts won 14-10. In total, he played 118 tests at the base of the scrum.
26 — test tries scored for the All Blacks. Read scored his first international try against Ireland in New Plymouth during a 66-28 win on 12 June, 2010. He crossed the whitewash in an All Blacks jersey for what proved to be the 26th and final time against Tonga during a RWC 2019 warm-up match in Hamilton.
34 — All Blacks appearances against Australia. Only Richie McCaw has played in more matches for New Zealand against the Wallabies than Read (Keven Mealamu has also featured in 34). Of those, Read won 27 — including the RWC 2015 final — and ended on the losing side on just five occasions.
51 — tests as All Blacks captain. Read first captained New Zealand on 17 November, 2012, a match in which he scored and the All Blacks won 42-10. He took over the captaincy on a permanent basis in 2016 and led his side to third place at RWC 2019. The 40-17 bronze final victory against Wales in Japan was his final test appearance. Sean Fitzpatrick also captained the All Blacks in 51 tests, while only McCaw (110) has done so on more occasions.
107 — victories in test matches for New Zealand. Having begun his international career with a win against Scotland, it was a habit Read and the All Blacks continued for much of his career. In total, the number eight played in more than a century of test victories. Only McCaw (131) and Mealamu (114) have featured in more.
127 — test match appearances. Only 10 players have appeared in more test matches than Read, who is joint-11th on the list alongside Rugby World Cup-winning former Springbok Victor Matfield. He played his 100th test match against the British and Irish Lions in July, 2017. The third and final match of the series, it ended in a 15-15 draw.
2013 — the year in which he was named World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year. Read captained New Zealand in 13 of their 14 tests in 2013, as the All Blacks won all of them to set a record of victories in a calendar year. The number eight beat competition from team-mate Ben Smith, Wales' Leigh Halfpenny, South Africa's Eben Etzebeth and Italy's Sergio Parisse to lift the award.