New Zealand Rugby
Test veterans re-commit to New Zealand rugby
October 13, 2013
All Blacks No.8 Kieran Read leads the celebrations at full-time, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, France, October 23, 2011
Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock are excited to continue playing with the Crusaders and the All Blacks until 2017 © Getty Images

Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock have signed on with New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2017. The announcement also revealed the pair will stay with the Crusaders until the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said the deal is a significant one given the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017.

"Kieran and Sam have been outstanding in recent years and we are delighted to have them recommit to New Zealand," Tew said. "For them to commit to New Zealand for such a long time I think is also a credit to the environment that both the All Blacks and Crusaders have created which makes players want to stay."

Read, who turns 28 in two weeks, was man of the match in the All Blacks 38-27 Test win over South Africa in Johannesburg that secured the Rugby Championship for another year. "The All Blacks and Crusaders have some exciting things coming up over the next few years and I'm really looking forward to being part of that," Read said. "I love playing for both teams. The time is right to commit to New Zealand long-term, doing the right thing for my family played a big part and I'm incredibly happy with the decision.

"Obviously, in the long-term for the All Blacks there is the Rugby World Cup coming up in 2015 but we still have a lot to achieve in the short-term starting with the Test against Australia next weekend, the All Blacks end of year tour to Japan and Europe and then next year's Super Rugby campaign."

Whitelock, 24, has already amassed 47 Test caps since making his debut in 2010 and quickly cemented his place as one of the starting locks in the All Blacks and Crusaders.

"Playing for both teams is a dream come true for me and I am really enjoying my rugby at the moment. I feel I am constantly learning and developing my game at the highest level and knowing that I will continue to do that in New Zealand over the next four years, playing alongside my mates, is an awesome feeling. There are some exciting times coming up for both teams," Whitelock said.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen added the pair's re-signing was 'a huge positive' for the All Blacks. "Not only are they part of the current success of the team, but it means we have a nucleus of experienced players to take the team into the future beyond 2015, which is fantastic. It's also great news for All Blacks and Crusaders fans, knowing that both players have committed to New Zealand rugby in the long-term."

The pair join Ben Smith as players who have signed with New Zealand Rugby until the end of the 2017 season. Hooker Dane Coles has recommitted to NZR until 2016.

© Sportal

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