Rugby World Cup 2019: Kieran Read enjoying final moments ahead of All Blacks farewell

Departing All Blacks captain Kieran Read is at peace with his decision to say sayonara to the black jersey and start his new journey with Japanese club Toyota Verblitz.

Read will play his 126th, and final, test for the All Blacks against Wales in the Bronze final at Tokyo Stadium on Friday night. 

The test will also be the 52nd time he'll captain his country, overtaking Sean Fitzpatrick to become the second most capped All Blacks captain of all time behind Richie McCaw. 

In March, the 34-year-old announced he'd be taking his talents to Japan, where All Blacks boss Steve Hansen is also heading, but not to be the team's coach. 

While Read would rather be playing for the Webb Ellis Cup, he wants to sign off his career with a win, where Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, and Sonny Bill Williams will also play their final tests for the All Blacks. 

"I'm ready to leave. It's my time, I've had my time in the jersey," said Read. "I've given it my all, and it's time for someone else to step in next year.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Kieran Read enjoying final moments ahead of All Blacks farewell
Rugby World Cup 2019: Kieran Read enjoying final moments ahead of All Blacks farewell

"It's what I've known for a number of years now. But it's gotten to that point where your mind might be willing, but your body is saying, 'nah, can't be doing this for too much longer'. It's been a real pleasure, an honour.

"There's a number of guys, who have been around for these four years that will grow into leaders coming in next year. 

"The group of men we've got are so committed to what the All Blacks are and that's a true testament to how much success we'll have in the future. They understand what it means to be an All Black."

Read admitted the last few days have been tough, adding that it is tough to prepare for a bronze final. 

"It does require a bit of strength, doesn't it? Knowing that it's a game that you didn't want to be in.

"We've got a chance to rectify a few things that we didn't get right last week and that in itself is exciting – we've got to look at it in that way.

"It's not going to change the fact that we're going to be hurting, probably hurting for a long time, but you can change your mindset for this one moment."

Read is hopeful of doing something special in his final game, saying he'd love to attempt a drop goal, although he doesn't think it'll happen. 

"It's one thing my mates give me stick about a lot - that I've never got a dropped goal.

"I don't see it happening, unfortunately. I'll do my job, what I've done all my career. But I'm going to enjoy it out there. It would be rude not to."

Read added that he probably won't watch the World Cup final between England and South Africa on Saturday night, instead using the time to celebrate and reflect on his journey. 

"It's the last chance that we're together as a whole group. Last chance in the All Black environment together. 

"I'm trying to enjoy that as much as we can. It is a special time being in this team, so really just lapping it up and enjoying the moment."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

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