Read named NZ player of the year

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All Blacks number eight Kieran Read capped a stellar year Thursday when he won the New Zealand player of the year award. Photo by: Fiona Goodall

Wellington – All Blacks number eight Kieran Read capped a stellar year Thursday when he won the New Zealand player of the year award, two days after receiving the same award from the International Rugby Board (IRB).

Steve Hansen was named coach of the year and the All Blacks were team of the year at the New Zealand awards, after also collecting the same IRB honours on Tuesday.

The recognition follows a perfect year for the All Blacks in which they won all 14 Tests they played – the first time a team from a major playing nation has done so in the professional era.

Read, who stood in for Richie McCaw as All Blacks captain in the three June Tests against France, was an influential figure in all 14 matches.

After the All Blacks' Northern Hemisphere tour in November, Read spent five days coaching underprivileged children in Brazil, which kept his feet firmly on the ground despite the accolades for his performances.

“It was a real eye-opener,” he said. “It was cool trying to touch a football-mad nation. That brings you back down to earth ...”

Read said it was humbling to be mentioned alongside other great All Blacks backrowers such as Buck Shelford, Zinzan Brooke and Sir Brian Lochore.

“Everyone has their own personality and their own way they play. To be compared is awesome.” – Sapa-AFP


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