All Blacks captain Kieran Read is nearing a return to rugby, after six months out of the game following spinal surgery at the end of 2017. He has been able to successfully train with the All Blacks in the lead up to the third test, causing a nuisance against the starting line-up in opposed sessions.
“Reado is making some good progress so you should see him on the park in a couple of weeks – maybe for Counties,” coach Steve Hansen said.
“He’s been a pain in the butt at training. The boys are getting sick of him. He’s been good. He’s been in the opposition – he’s been as niggly as hell, so he’ll be ready to go shortly.”
A return to rugby beckons with a pre-season hitout when Counties play Tasman next week. Should he manage that successfully, he will be in the frame to return for the Crusaders in July. With 109 test caps, he will be a big boost for Scott Robertson’s side looking to capture back-to-back Super Rugby titles.
“He should be right for some games for the Crusaders after that (playing for Counties), so it is quite exciting for us,” Hansen said.
“As I say he has been quite niggly the last couple of weeks – the boys are sick of him.
“We will be pleased to give him a game.”
Read’s return schedule had aimed for a July return so looks on track to fulfill that. The Crusaders finish with two home matches against the Highlanders and Blues which Read might feature in, before the playoffs.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.