Read’s game of patience
All Blacks captain Kieran Read has tentatively promoted July as the month for his long-awaited comeback following surgery on his spine.
Although the 32 year old, who this week began training with the Crusaders for the first time this season, confirmed he has zero chance of representing the All Blacks against France next month he was upbeat about the progress he has made since going under the knife in mid-December.
‘‘There is no time-frame on it [his return], hopefully in July some time. It could be earlier, it could be later,’’ Read said.
‘‘It is just about ticking milestones off, and this is one. It has been a long time since I have been on the field, actually running around properly. I still have a lot to do.’’
The good news is Read has not been bothered by pain during, or after, trainings. He has been introduced to some wrestling exercises, been lifting and jumping in lineouts and hopes to start contact sessions in a few weeks. Yesterday he was able to run at full pace before the physiotherapists asked him to withdraw and do gym work instead.
The discectomy operation has the potential to add several years to his career, something that will be of huge relief to the All Blacks selectors as they plot the defence of the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan next year.
‘‘The disc bulges onto the spinal cord, so I had that scraped away,’’ Read explained. ‘‘Obviously the nerves had been damaged and the nerves went down into my leg and I had the pain. It [the operation] alleviated all that, and then it just takes time for it to heal. Nerves generally take six to 12 months – so I have just got to be patient with it.’’ All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who will reveal his 33-man squad on Sunday, is expected to Kieran Read
name Sam Whitelock as his captain for the series against the French but has remained in close contact with Read.
With 109 test caps to his name, the latter has put body through the wringer since starting his professional rugby career with the Crusaders in 2007 and although mid-April was earlier mentioned as when he would make his comeback to Super Rugby, he was satisfied with progress. ‘‘It is a six-month injury, really, from post-surgery,’’ Read added.