Rugby: Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read contracted COVID-19 while playing in Japanese Top League

  • 21/05/2021

Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read has revealed he contracted COVID-19 while playing in the Japanese Top League.

Read, 35, is quarantining in Auckland after returning from Japan, where his Toyota Verblitz were eliminated in the Top League semi-finals last weekend.

But speaking to Newstalk ZB about the state of the COVID pandemic in Japan, Read has admitted he contracted the virus.

"My club went through COVID," he says. "I had it.

"It wasn't too bad. There was a day or so of feeling pretty bad and upset, then I came good. 

"Half our team got it and it went round quite a few of the clubs, so they postponed the season.

"It was quite strange. You would expect us all to have the same strain, but we didn't know what it was. 

"Some guys lost taste and smell, some had fevers, some were quite mild. With some guys, it lasted for a week or so, it depended on the person. 

"I was fine after a couple of days."

Despite public feeling turning against the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled for July-August, Read believes the Games will proceed, even as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

"The general feeling is they want the Olympics to go ahead, because there's so much invested in it, but they understand it's bigger than what it is," he adds.

"Every time they have a lessening of the restrictions, it seems to pop back up again, so it's going to be dealt with up there for a long time, I think."

Read called time on his playing career after Toyota's semi-final loss to Panasonic Wild Knights.

The former All Blacks captain played 128 tests, winning the Rugby World Cup in both 2011 and 2015.