Kieran Read re-signs with NZ Rugby to 2019

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) All Blacks captain Kieran Read has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby through the 2019 World Cup in a deal which will likely make him New Zealand’s first million-dollar player.

The latest collective agreement between NZR and the New Zealand players’ association increased the remuneration pool available for New Zealand’s top players to a level which will make salaries of a million dollars a year possible for the first time. The salary increases are designed to make it easier for leading players to reject substantial offers from overseas clubs.

Read, who has played 97 tests and has captained the All Blacks since 2017, is expected to become New Zealand’s highest-paid player and the first to sign a seven-figure deal.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew said Read is ”a genuine world-class athlete” who commands huge respect from his peers.