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Longevity key for Read

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Sportal.co.nz     07 Dec 2013     Getty Images

The 2013 IRB Player of the Year received the local recognition he deserved on Thursday night when he won the Kel Tremain Memorial Trophy for the National Player of the Year to a standing ovation.

Speaking to reporters, Read said the enormity of the All Blacks' perfect year and his own personal contributions hadn't quite settled and that he would sit down and properly reflect in due time.

"From my point of view I wanted to be a big part of that," said Read.

"I guess out on the field is where people judge you, so that's where you wanna be performing and that's when I certainly said at the start of the year.

"Being the guy that makes the difference on the field."

While satisfied and fun, Read said the All Blacks would need to continue to stay ahead of the game because the gap between the world's best and the world's rest had narrowed.

While he was able to have a break through injury, Read said the work done by management prior to the European tour to arrange and send players to France or Japan allowed for optimal recovery and ensured players could finish the year in a sprint.

Captain Richie McCaw spoke highly of his No.8, saying Read had played superbly all year and deserved the recognition.

As for his own performances, the loose forward was disappointed to have a season blighted by multiple injuries but was happy to play the last four matches of the year.

The All Blacks' perfect year earned them the Team of the Year title, while Steve Hansen won the Coach of the Year for the second straight time.

Leading the Black Ferns' try-hungry backline to a 3-0 series win over England earned Kelly Brazier the Female Player of the Year award while Graham Mourie was acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to rugby with the Steinlager Salver.