'Take the power away from coaches' - Kieran Read talks about captaincy

Kieran Read says his legacy as All Blacks captain is to try and make the team more inclusive, and take power away from the coaches. Photo / Photosport
Kieran Read says his legacy as All Blacks captain is to try and make the team more inclusive, and take power away from the coaches. Photo / Photosport

All Blacks captain Kieran Read had big shoes to fill when he took over from Richie McCaw.

Not only that, but he had a team devoid of experience and history which came with the retirement of Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Kevin Mealamu, and Tony Woodcock.

He had to do something different, he had to make his own mark on the black jersey and leave a lasting legacy like those skippers before him.

His method - take the power away from the coaches and give it to the leadership group. That way the team could grow on its own.

"The biggest thing I wanted was to make it a really inclusive group," Read told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB.

"To have no boundaries between senior players and guys coming in, and try and take the balance of power away from potentially the coaches."

Unlike McCaw, Read prefers to take control of the team from Thursday onwards, leading up to a test.

No last minute tactics from Hansen on the Friday night, no pump up talk before the game. Just Kieran and his troops.

"You want the players to take over," he said. "You want myself and the other leaders to be the voices you hear, because they are the guys you play with for 80 minutes on Saturday."

And despite the added pressure, Read is more than comfortable with embracing a legacy left by the 148-test McCaw.

"I really cherish the opportunity to lead the group of men we have," he said.

"I enjoy playing with all these boys, they're good mates of mine.

"Running out and leading these boys, and the way we're playing, it makes you come back and do it all again."​

And with a new record now in the bag, Read is eyeing up the potential to take it further, starting with Ireland in Chicago next weekend.

- NZ Herald

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