Kieran Read has proclaimed himself fit and raring to go as the All Blacks prepare for the inaugural Rugby Championship, news which All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will find particularly heartening.

The rangy loose-forward is widely regarded as one of the very best Number 8s in the international game, and his consistency, physicality, and durability are all assets that are integral to the world champion’s forward pack. Having missed the final games of the Crusaders’ Super XV campaign with a rib injury, All Black selectors would have been sweating at the thought of entering the new-look competition without the experience and influence of the highly regarded Read.

Read will be sporting the adidas R15 IIs when he takes the field for the new-look tournament, which sees Argentina joining the three countries who have traditionally contested the Tri-Nations competition. The R15 II is a completely revamped form of its predecessor, utilizing the lightweight Taurus leather which is also found on the Predator RX.

The classic design is perfect for loose-forwards who pride themselves on their work-ethic and willingness to ‘do the hard yards’, while the one-piece outer-sole enhances stability and the natural feel of the boot.

Born in 1985, Read was initially used as a utility player in both the Crusaders and eventually the All Blacks, filling the role of lock, blindside flanker or number 8, and making his test debut on New Zealand’s end of season tour to the UK in 2008. However, he has now cemented his spot as the countries’ leading number 8, where his relationship with All Black captain and Crusader’s teammate Richie McCaw helps create a formidable loose-forward combination. In 2010 he received the honour of being named All Blacks’ Player of the Year.

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