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TOKYO (Reuters) – Captain Kieran Read will lead the All Blacks in his final test alongside other departing veterans Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty and Sonny Bill Williams in the Rugby World Cup third-place match against Wales in Tokyo on Friday.
Read, who turned 34 on Saturday, will effectively finish his 127-test career with the All Blacks at Tokyo Stadium after deciding to join Japanese club Toyota at the conclusion of the World Cup.
Coach Steve Hansen said Read had been the ideal figure to carry the All Blacks forward following the retirement of inspirational captain Richie McCaw in 2015.
“He’s a special player and we identified that he would lead after Richie,” Hansen told reporters.
“He … has played a lot of rugby in a position that’s tough. He’s charismati
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