Crusaders star Kieran Read has been given the unenviable task of replacing Richie McCaw as captain of New Zealand.
Read has already captained the All Blacks on nine occasions in McCaw's absence but the news was confirmed by New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen overnight. According to Reuters, Hansen revealed the news to Radio Sport. "Reado's had experience already as captain nine times. Whilst it will be a new experience to be there full-time, at least he's had a taste of it."
Read has played against Ireland six times, scoring three tries including two in the Dublin test in 2010. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie
The Number 8 was named at the World Player of the Year in 2013, when he captained his country for the first time. Of his 83 appearances, Read has been on the winning team on 73 occasions. He starred in New Zealand's back-to-back World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015.
Read's first experience as New Zealand's full-time captain will come against Wales in a three-test series against Warren Gatland's side in June. He will be expected to at least lead the World Champions up until the 2019 World Cup in Japan.