Read targets 'perfect' finish

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 07:52
Large kieran read points Large kieran read h s Large kieran read haka

New Zealand hope to produce a great performance, rather than win ugly, as they strive to win all their Test matches in a calendar year.

If New Zealand become the first team in the professional era to win all their Test matches in a calendar year, by beating Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, it will be a "great" achievement according to No.8 Kieran Read.

But the 28-year-old - who is favoured to be named International Rugby Board Player of the Year - added that given their professionalism, they would prefer to do so putting up a perfect performance, which he said they had failed to do in their matches with France and then England.

No international team in the professional era has enjoyed a perfect calendar year - with South Africa's 1995 World Cup winning side, captained by Francois Pienaar, the last to achieve this with a perfect 10 from 10.
The New Zealand team led by Wayne Shelford, that won all seven of their Tests in 1989, was the last group of All Blacks to achieve the feat when Rugby Union was still an amateur sport.

New Zealand themselves came close to perfection again when they won 11 games and drew one under John Hart in 1997.

Read, who scored an excellent try in the victory over England last Saturday, said they were not out to win ugly to achieve the record, but to do it in style.

"I think it would be a massive achievement," he said.

"I think we'd rather give a great performance at the weekend and get a win from that and actually showcase our talents and our game plan."

Read, capped over 50 times and who has captained them on seven occasions, said he thought the present team were a more attractive outfit to watch than the one who won the 2011 World Cup.

"I think we're playing a better style than what we were back then," he said.

"Certainly our culture is great at the moment and we're playing, certainly, a better style of footie.

"If we get it right it's pretty exciting to play in and certainly good to watch as well. It's hard to compare but all I'd say is that it's certainly a great team to be a part of."

Read, who plays his Super Rugby for Crusaders, said that he expected a much more solid performance from the Irish than the one last Saturday when they were outplayed 32-15 by Australia.

"I don't think they'll be very happy with the way they turned up," he said.

"They're a much better side than what they showed against Australia, across the board really. So I'd expect a totally different team when we play them on Sunday."