Rugby World Cup 2019: Kieran Read deserves to be winning captain, says Warburton

By Sports Desk September 16, 2019

Sam Warburton believes New Zealand captain Kieran Read deserves to be a Rugby World Cup-winning skipper and can foresee a successful All Blacks campaign.

Read will retire after the upcoming World Cup, where New Zealand are chasing a third straight title and fourth in total.

The 33-year-old featured in the 2011 and 2015 successes but only replaced Richie McCaw as the All Blacks captain in 2016, meaning he has not yet led the team at a finals.

Warburton was Wales skipper at consecutive World Cups and believes Read fits the role of a successful leader.

"You look at World Cup winners and - I won't say names - some people you come across, it doesn't suit them, no disrespect," Warburton told Omnisport.

"Then there's some people like Kieran Read who comes across the table and he just suits being a World Cup captain. He's got that iconic, legendary status.

"If he doesn't win a World Cup, he'll always be a legend and an icon of the New Zealand game anyway, but he's been such a good player and ambassador for New Zealand rugby, you think he's the type of person who deserves the accolade to be a World Cup-winning captain.

"It wouldn't surprise me to see New Zealand lifting the World Cup with Kieran Read. It would suit him very well. He's been a legendary player.

"He deserves to achieve all the success that he already has achieved and further success still."

As two-time defending champions, New Zealand are the team to beat in Japan but Warburton does not believe any side with serious title ambitions should be looking to avoid the All Blacks.

"It depends what your motivation is. If your motivation is just to have a really good run in the World Cup, then you want to avoid New Zealand," he said.

"If your motivation is that you're going to win the World Cup, then it doesn't matter where you're going to meet them. You've got to beat them anyway.

"Some teams will be thinking, 'If we can get to a quarters or a semis, this would be brilliant, so we want to win our group to avoid New Zealand'.

"There's going to be some teams thinking, 'I don't care how we get there, we're going to beat every team to get to the World Cup final'. It depends how the team's thinking.

"Fans will obviously want to see you play New Zealand in a final because they'll want to see you have a good run.

"But if you're going to doubt yourself in a quarter, then it makes no difference if it's the quarter or the final. You're doubting yourself for the final, you've written the final off.

"For me, it doesn't actually matter when you play these teams. I think if you want to win the World Cup, you want to win it the hard way so you get the respect of the whole world that you've deserved to win it.

"You don't want an easy run to the final. So for me, personally, it wouldn't matter. But I can understand why some teams would rather meet New Zealand later on."


Open Side by Sam Warburton (HarperCollins) is out on 19th September.

Related items

  • Trent Boult back as New Zealand tackle India Tests Trent Boult back as New Zealand tackle India Tests

    Trent Boult has been recalled by New Zealand for the two-match Test series against India after the pace attack leader recovered from a broken right hand.

    The 30-year-old left-armer missed the ODIs and Twenty20 matches between the teams after suffering his injury during the Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne.

    However, he features in a 13-man squad ahead of the opening Test, which begins at Wellington's Basin Reserve on Friday.

    Boult, who has 256 wickets from 65 Tests, is included alongside fellow quicks Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson, with Lockie Ferguson absent due to a calf injury and Ajaz Patel included as the spin option.

    Coach Gary Stead said: "It's terrific to have Trent back with us and we're looking forward to the energy and experience he adds to the group alongside his obvious class with the ball in hand.

    "Kyle will offer us a point of difference with the bounce he could extract on what is traditionally a good surface in Wellington.

    "We're excited to welcome back Ajaz who has done a great job for us overseas and has a proven domestic record in New Zealand conditions."

    Ross Taylor is due to win his 100th cap in the first Test, becoming the fourth New Zealand player to reach that mark, after Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Stephen Fleming.

    Stead said: "To play 100 Tests for your country is an incredible achievement and a testament to his work ethic and complete professionalism."


    New Zealand squad for Test series against India: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

  • Racing leave it late to topple Toulouse Racing leave it late to topple Toulouse

    Olivier Klemenczak's last-gasp try snatched a 30-27 victory over Toulouse to move Racing 92 up to third and Castres beat bottom side Agen in the Top 14 on Sunday.

    Racing's winning run in the league looked set to end at four matches until Klemenczak nipped in on the blindside to touch down and deny Toulouse with the clock two minutes into the red at Paris La Defense Arena.

    Toulouse were pegged back at 17-17 on the stroke of half-time after Dorian Laborde went over, with Fabien Sanconnie also crossing for the capital club either side of scores from Pita Ahki and Lucas Tauzin.

    Maxime Machenaud's second penalty of the match put Racing in front, but Sofiane Guitoune finished to put Toulouse ahead again and Cheslin Kolbe took his tally from the tee to 10 points to give them a seven-point advantage.

    Racing were not finished yet, though and Teddy Iribaren was on target with a penalty before Klemenczak settled it after Iosefa Tekori was sent to the sin bin with Toulouse under huge pressure right at the end. 

    Castres are up to 10th after seeing off Agen 43-24, Martin Leveau scoring two of five tries for the 2018 champions.

  • Northampton Saints 14-20 Bristol Bears: Purdy, Thiede inspire comeback Northampton Saints 14-20 Bristol Bears: Purdy, Thiede inspire comeback

    Bristol Bears scored two tries in as many minutes to come from behind and defeat Northampton Saints 20-14 at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday.

    Northampton's second-half collapse meant they had to settle for a losing bonus point that left them four adrift of Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs, while Bristol moved up to fourth.

    Rory Hutchinson sent the ball out to the right for Saints full-back Harry Mallinder to dive over in the corner eight minutes into his return from 15 months out with a knee injury.

    James Grayson failed to add the extras but had a trio of penalties by the 43rd minute, the first of which came after Harry Randall was on the receiving end of a huge hit of Cobus Reinach and failed to release the ball.

    Hutchinson was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Joe Joyce and Callum Sheedy got Bristol on the board from the resulting penalty in the 50th minute.

    Replacement wing Henry Purdy touched down after Piers O'Conor surged through a gap in the defence after the hour mark and Bristol were soon ahead.

    Some excellent work from Sheedy preceded Lewis Thiede touching down from close range in the 63rd minute, with Ian Madigan slotting through a penalty after the buzzer.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.