New Zealand captain Kieran Read has revealed he wasn’t sure he would ever play again after surgery last year as he gets set to return. The 32-year-old will make his 110th appearance for the All Blacks on Saturday when they face Australia in the Rugby Championship opener on his comeback to international rugby, the Crusaders ace having missed the summer Test series with France.
The No.8 underwent surgery to repair a damaged nerve in his back last December and has now admitted that there were times during his recovery where he wondered if he would ever get back to full fitness.
Read says it was a tough fight to get back to playing rugby again but believes he is in a good place now as he prepares to lead the world champions out in Sydney.
“I can’t wait to get back on the field with the boys,” he said. “Getting an injury like I had, there were a few doubts that do float around but once I got in the process of recovery … I’m in a good space right now.”
New Zealand have named Read’s club team mate Jack Goodhue at outside centre for the Bledisloe Cup encounter with the Wallabies, who have seen their preparations hampered by injuries.
Australia lost loose-head prop Scott Sio ahead of Saturday’s game, meaning Tom Robertson starts in the front row, while Reece Hodge will start at outside centre for the first time in his international career due to injuries to Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerivu.