Auckland - All Blacks captain Kieran Read says winning his 100th cap against the British and Irish Lions is a moment he's been looking forward to his whole life.
The 31-year-old Read will become the seventh Kiwi to earn a silver 100th cap this weekend, following in the footsteps of former team-mates Mils Muliaina, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock.
"It doesn't get much bigger," Read told Stuff. "It's a pretty cool place to be. I never expected to be in this position, but the biggest thing for me is to go out there and do my bit to help the team get the win.
"You grow up looking for these moments in your career. I can't wait."
Read's record of 22 wins from 24 matches as captain makes him the game's most successful skipper in history. Following in the footsteps of possibly the greatest All Black of all time Richie McCaw was never going to be an easy feat but something that Read has done seamlessly.
"I am who I am, I guess," adds Read."The All Blacks captaincy is something pretty special to me. I certainly respect it and want to honour it as best I can and the best way to do that is to be myself. I find that's best for the team as well."
Read said that while the pressure had ramped up following last week's defeat, the All Blacks are blessed with experienced players who are able to lead the younger rookies.
"The guys who are used to it have to impart our knowledge about what these moments mean. The way we can do that is to embrace it. Guys like Ngani [Laumapie] and Jordie [Barrett] are new to the team but they've got tremendous talent, and they just need to worry about doing their role."
"We weren't happy with the way we played last week. We've
got to make a change. You chip away at it. You're captain for a reason. You're
in front making sure the boys are building. It's about getting in the right
space, and we've done that pretty well."