Read heading for 'exit door'
NEWS: Reports out of France claim that All Black captain Kieran Read is close to agreeing on a seven-month contract to play with Top 14 club Racing 92 after next year’s World Cup.
French newspaper L’Equipe has reported that despite English and Japanese suitors offering more money than Racing 92, Read wants to test himself in the Top 14.
The deal will reportedly see Read join the club for seven months, initially linking with the side in November 2019.
It was reported earlier in the year that offshore clubs had tabled offers worth NZ$2 million for the 33-year-old’s services. Despite the flexible salary cap surrounding marquee players in the Premiership, it seems a short stay in France has caught Read’s eye.
Racing 92 currently host former All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Dominic Bird, and in 2015 made Dan Carter rugby’s richest man with a £1.3 million (NZ$2.4 million) per year deal. Carter now plies his trade in Japan.
Read missed a significant amount of playing time in 2018 after undergoing major back surgery in late 2017. He returned to help the Crusaders win their second consecutive Super Rugby title and made his first All Blacks appearance of the year in August.
The number eight has come under fire for a recent drop in form, but both All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen and Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson have jumped to his defence.
“It can swing pretty quickly from a player of his mana, his captaincy and how special of a New Zealander he’s been, and for how long he’s played for at a high level,” Robertson told NZME.
“For him to get that kick back, it’s pretty tough to swallow. But I know it’s the game we’re in and it will wash off and he will come back stronger for it.”
Read himself defended his form in an interview with NZME.
Of the recent northern tour and losing effort against Ireland in particular, Read said “it was fairly strong and I think I have operated the best I have all year on this tour. It was one of those games where it was hard to get going because it ended up being a bit if a stop-start affair.”
“I am feeling like I am putting some form out on the field now so that is nice.”
Who else is heading abroad?