All Blacks boost as Read returns
LIONS NZ TOUR: All Blacks captain Kieran Read has overcome a thumb injury and will face the British and Irish Lions in the first Test in Auckland.
Read was sidelined with a broken thumb in April but according to teammate Sam Whitelock, he was now "ready to go".
"He'll hopefully bring that Kieran Read way of playing, he'll lead from the front. It's awesome when he does that and he plays great rugby when he's being himself and taking the lead," Whitelock told reporters.
While throwing a player straight into a Test series after an injury could be considered risky, Whitelock said Read had prepared meticulously to meet the Lions at Eden Park on Saturday.
"He's always targeted this game to get back. He's had time to get his head around it. He's been working really hard with the trainer and physios to get right for this game. When he gets that opportunity, he'll take it with both hands," he added.