Kieran Read has acknowledged he will find it difficult to leave the Crusaders after helping the Canterbury side to the Super Rugby title.
New Zealand international Read has called time on his 12-year stint at the Crusaders, having agreed to join Japanese side Toyota Verblitz after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The 33-year-old started in his final Crusaders appearance on Saturday, as their Super Rugby dominance continued with a 19-3 win over Jaguares in Saturday’s final.
It represents a third successive title for the Crusaders, with the Christchurch-based team having won 10 Super Rugby trophies overall.
“It’s given me everything,” an emotional Read, who will retire from international rugby after the World Cup in October, told Sky Sports.
“I love this place, the fans that turn up, the people of Christchurch. It’s so great. Even just to drop your kids off at school, everyone says hello. Everyone’s right in behind you.
“It’s so special. [I’m] just really thankful and grateful to be able to put on the jersey so many times.
“It’ll be a bit sad reflecting over the last couple of days, but I’ve absolutely loved it and that I’ve done it.”
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 6, 2019
Codie Taylor scored the only try of the lowest scoring Super Rugby final in the history of the competition, with Richie Mo’unga in fine form with the boot, kicking 14 of the Crusaders’ 19 points.
And Crusaders coach Scott Robertson believes his side were guilty of overplaying in the opening stages of the match.
“I feel that the last three weeks have been finals for us,” said Robertson, who danced on the pitch after the win.
“Against the Hurricanes, we felt like we were in the final and we played a different team tactically, but the team adapted well to the different style of Jaguares.
“During the first 20 minutes, we were guilty of wanting to play too much, but we managed to adapt and play a simple game. This was probably not the most exciting, but under conditions like this one, it’s just about doing the basics and doing them well.”
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