Kieran Read

Captain Kieran Read upbeat after injury struggles

The 33-year-old underwent back surgery late last year, and was out of action until late June for the Crusaders, and did not play a test for the All Blacks until the Rugby Championship in August.

The number eight was far from his best when he returned which led to plenty of criticism, with coach Steve Hansen forced to defend his captain on numerous occasions saying any negative comments were unwarranted and ridiculous.

Read and Coles likely to miss French series

Read underwent back surgery following the All Blacks' end of year tour to Europe after a protruding disc was causing leg pain while Coles ruptured knee ligaments.

"I don't think he'll (Read) be back until after the French series but that's not a fait accompli at this point," Hansen told NZME.

"We'll just take our time and as I said about a month ago, he knows his body and we can't afford to come back too early and damage it again and miss another six months and maybe even miss the World Cup.

"We'll just take it one day at a time and one week at a time."

Read to miss start of Super Rugby

 

Read sat out the All Blacks' final game of the year against Wales last month due to the back injury.

The 32-year-old said on social media that he'll undergo surgery this Saturday and will miss the start of the Super Rugby season.

The expected recovery time for such injuries is four months.

The Crusaders' first game of the season is against the Chiefs in late February.

 

Photo caption Kieran Read 

     

Fit-again Read and Ioane to start against Lions

Read has not played since April due a broken thumb, but the All Blacks skipper has recovered in time to feature against Warren Gatland's men in Auckland.

Ardie Savea drops to the bench to accommodate Read at number eight, while Ioane gets his first start on the left wing as Julian Savea misses out completely.

Centre Ryan Crotty also returns from injury to take his place in Steve Hansen's team, so Anton Lienert-Brown is among the replacements for the opening Test of three.

All Blacks confident over Read

Read has not played since breaking a thumb in April, having spent much of 2017 recuperating from wrist surgery.

The skipper is unlikely to play any part in the All Blacks' practice match against Samoa on Friday as plans for the first Test in a fortnight at Eden Park draw into sharp focus.

But having seen Read's predecessor Richie McCaw have huge impacts on previous series with similarly low-key preparation, Hansen has no concerns.

"Our last skipper used to be able to do it, and this one's got similar mental fortitude and strength of character," Hansen said.

Kieran Read signs on for another two years

In recognition of his roots, Read has also revealed he is returning to the province where he was born and raised, and has also signed with Counties Manukau through to 2019.

31-year-old Read made the announcement in front of an excited school assembly at his old school, Rosehill College, in Papakura this morning.

Read and Kaino could play first Lions test without game time

Read has had surgery on a broken thumb and is expected to be out for six weeks which could have him back in time for the Lions match against the Crusaders on June 10th, two weeks before the first test in Auckland.

Kaino is due back a week later.

The squad for the first test against the British and Irish Lions will be named on Thursday, June 8th.

It's highly unlikely Read or Kaino will have been back on the field by that stage but they'll no doubt be named in the squad subject to fitness.