By Scott MacLean
Kieran Read re-signs with NZ Rugby, which is a good thing and keeps the coach/manager/captain axis of the All Blacks together through the 2019 World Cup cycle, where presumably wants to ride off into the sunset like his predecessor did.
He also re-upped with the Crusaders, which might mean a lot more to those from the Peoples Republic of Cantabistan than his continuing presence in a team with a single shade playing kit, but is also a good thing.
Then there’s bit that makes you wonder, as Read has also decided to change his provincial allegiances and return home to Counties-Manukau and adding a white hoop to each of the red and black ones, something emphasised in both the location of the announcement (his old school Rosehill College) and the accompanying press releases. While it’s admirable, it’s somewhat laughable as well – does anyone honestly expect he’ll play even a handful of games for the Steelers, if any?
In 11 seasons ‘signed’ to Canterbury he made all of 37 appearances, and most of those came a decade ago.
I’m not suggesting he shouldn’t have signed with Counties-Manukau, far from it. On the face of it it appears he’ll be around the union in some capacity, but it seems the only way he’ll actually play at Growers Stadium is if he’s on the comeback from injury (or concussion, which he has history of but that’s a discussion for another time).
As another example there were similar trumpets when Brodie Retallick re-signed and was returning to Hawkes Bay. Actually returning probably isn’t the word, given that in four years with Bay of Plenty he made the grand sum of zero appearances for the Steamers. I’m also highly doubtful that Taranaki’s plan to bring Smiley Barrett’s kids home will see them all of them on Yarrows Stadium at the same time.
What it does do is make for nice PR stories, but is almost completely divorced from the reality that with the calendar as it is that sightings of established All Blacks in provincial colours are exceedingly rare.
But hey, we’re meant to swallow that hook, line, and sinker aren’t we?
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