There would hardly have been a murmur of dissent when Kieran Read was officially acknowledged last week as the best rugby player in the world.

The 28-year-old father of two girls has set a new standard of play at No8. He has arguably overtaken Buck Shelford and Zinzan Brooke as the best to play in his position for the All Blacks, yet he revealed during the week of the dramatic test against Ireland that he isn't above taking advice from his father, Terry, who is inclined via frequent emails to remind his son to keep his feet on the ground.

Read was born in Papakura but now lives in Christchurch, where he plays for the Crusaders. His parents remain in South Auckland and Read is proud of his northern roots. He is a humble man, an easy guy for his teammates to follow, an All Black captain in waiting.

A couple of days after Read was crowned the International Rugby Board's player of the year, he was awarded the Kel Tremain player of the year at the New Zealand Rugby Board's function in Auckland. He joked he might need to dedicate a room at home to store his trophies.


"It's been a crazy old week, I guess, with the numerous awards that have come my way, but I've certainly really enjoyed the season, it's been awesome," he said in a radio interview.

"I guess I feel like I'm playing pretty good footy; it's a reflection of the work I've put in and the success of the teams that I've been involved in."

It was during the All Blacks' recent Northern Hemisphere tour that it became apparent Read had gone global. He was as in demand as Richie McCaw by the press in Paris. The English rugby media and supporters relished the chance to see him in the flesh and the Irish could only shake their heads when he grabbed yet another test by the scruff of the neck.

The sign of a great player is how much responsibility he wants to take on the field when matches get difficult. Time and again Read did that this year, testament to his growing skill and self-belief. He is the best in the world and he knows it.