Wellington - All Blacks captain Kieran Read has signed a deal to stay in New Zealand rugby through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
No 8 Read, a double World Cup champion and 2013 World Player of the Year, has played 97 Tests for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2008, 22 as captain.
"I love playing for the All Blacks and Crusaders, love playing alongside my teammates and love the respective cultures, so it was an easy decision for me to recommit to New Zealand Rugby," the 31-year-old said after signing the two-year deal with NZ Rugby, Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders and Counties Manukau.
"There are some pretty exciting things coming up over the next few years, especially the Rugby World Cup at the end of 2019, so I'm definitely looking forward to that."
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew added: "He's a genuine world-class athlete, has grown immensely since taking over the captaincy of the All Blacks last year and commands huge respect from his peers. We are thrilled that he has extended his contract through to the end of 2019."
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen dubbed Read "one of the key players in world rugby".
"It's wonderful that he has committed through to the next Rugby World Cup in Japan. We're all looking forward to working with him going forward," Hansen said.
A number of key All Blacks have signed through to 2019 alongside Read, including Sam Whitelock, All Blacks vice-captain Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Dane Coles, Sonny Bill Williams, Joe Moody, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Squire, Nathan Harris and Liam Coltman.