All Blacks captain Kieran Read has revealed that he is hoping to return to action for the Crusaders in July as he continues his recovery from a spinal injury.
The 32-year-old number eight confirmed that he will not be in action when New Zealand host France in a three-Test series next month with his likely return to the international arena being the world champions’ Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Sydney on August 18.
Read has been sidelined since the end of 2017 when he underwent surgery on his lower back to fix a nerve which caused pain in his leg.
He returned to training with the Crusaders on Monday and is hoping to be playing again when the Crusaders return to action in their last regular-season matches and any play-off fixtures.
“There is no time frame on it, hopefully in July some time,” Read told AAP.
“It could be earlier – it could be later,” Read told journalists on Thursday after completing a light training run.
“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.”
Read last played in the All Blacks’ Test against Scotland in Edinburgh in November.