All Blacks captain Kieran Read couldn't hide his delight at returning to Crusaders training in Christchurch today, having been sidelined with injury for all of 2018.
Read. 32, hasn't played any rugby since the 2017 end of year tour, where he suffered a back injury that left him needing surgery.
Taking part in some light training with his Crusaders teammates today, Read spoke about his return to action.
"It's a long road back I guess from back surgery," he said.
"Awesome to be back out on the field, touch the ball a little bit, and do my bit."
Read kept his cards close to his chest when questioned about his return to playing, with the number eight expected to miss the All Blacks' June series with France.
"There's no time frame, hopefully in July sometime."
"From my point of view, it's just about ticking milestones off - this is one.
"It's been a long time since I've been on the field, actually running around properly, I've still got a lot to do.
"It's a progress that you've got to be patient with."