WELLINGTON All Blacks captain Kieran Read has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The 31-year-old Canterbury Crusaders loose forward succeeded Richie McCaw as skipper after the side won their second successive World Cup, and third overall, in England in 2015.
"I love playing for the All Blacks and Crusaders, love playing alongside my team mates and love the respective cultures, so it was an easy decision for me to recommit to New Zealand Rugby," said Read.
He has won 97 caps since his debut against Scotland in 2008.
Read is recovering from surgery on a broken thumb sustained playing for the Crusaders, but is expected to be back in time for the All Blacks first test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland on June 24.
"It's just a bone break and needs a bit of time for it to heal ... (but) recovering well," Read told TVNZ.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ken Ferris)