Kieran Read’s parents reflect on All Blacks captain's childhood while cherishing son's swansong in Japan

Just hours before kickoff for tonight’s Rugby World Cup Test between the All Blacks and Canada, Terry and Marilyn Read still have to stop and take time to reflect on the accolades of their son, Kieran.

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Terry and Marilyn Read still remember watching their son run around for Counties junior teams. Source: 1 NEWS

“It's still pretty surreal,” Terry told 1 NEWS.

“You don’t expect your son is going to be an All Black, let alone a long-time one and to be captain, it's pretty special.”

The Reads have followed their son all around the world for a decade with his successful rugby career but this time it's even more special.

It's their boy's 49th Test as captain tonight in his first full World Cup in charge and there’s already been moments to cherish.

“Something new [in the All Blacks’ match against South Africa] was his role in the haka,” Terry said

“We were really proud of that.”

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Aaron Smith said the team only found out about Read and TJ Perenara's shared role on game day. Source: 1 NEWS

It’s a long way from the player of the day awards of almost 30 years ago and running around for numerous Counties Manukau junior teams and New Zealand schools.

But that’s not the only thing that has changed.

“As Kieran was growing up, he was a pretty quiet chap - bit like the rest of us Reads,” Terry said.

“He was pretty competitive with his older brother and younger brother,” Marilyn added.

The Reads will likely be spending more time in Japan, after this year’s World Cup with the All Blacks captain signing for Toyota in the Top League competition - their season gets underway in January.

“There's a lot pressure from himself, from the team and from the country,” Marilyn said.

“He'll be able to relax a little bit once this tournament's over.”

Along with Read’s parents, his two grandmothers are also invested in watching back home.

“They're both 92 and 93 and they've been following him his whole career,” Marilyn said.

“That's helped keep them alive – they’ve been watching a lot of games of rugby with a lot of friends.”