Kieran Read targets July return after back surgery: 'I still have a lot to do'

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All Blacks skipper Kieran Read is targeting a late role in the Crusaders' Super Rugby title defence, as he continues his recovery from spinal surgery.

The skipper won't play a part in the France series, but will still lend a hand to his teammates.
Source: 1 NEWS

Read, 32, has confirmed he is no chance of playing in next month's Test series against France, with the Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Sydney on August 18 looming as his probable international return.

Before then, the veteran No.8 is tentatively confident of playing a part in the Crusaders' last regular-season games and any playoff matches.

"There is no time frame on it, hopefully in July some time. It could be earlier - it could be later," Read told journalists yesterday 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."

The All Blacks captain hasn't played any rugby since the 2017 end of year tour.
Source: 1 NEWS

Read's last match was in November against Scotland in Edinburgh, before severe back pain ruled him out of the tour-ending Test against Wales.

Crusaders teammate Sam Whitelock, having led the All Blacks in Cardiff, is favoured to be named skipper when coach Steve Hansen unveils his All Blacks squad on Sunday for the French series.

Whitelock was ruled out of tomorrow's match for the Super Rugby leaders against the Blues at Eden Park with illness. But it is not believed to be a serious ailment.

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