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Read tracking nicely for Lions Test return

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/05/2017

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read continues to tick along nicely for an injury return in his side's first British and Irish Lions Test.

The 31-year-old Read has played just 128 minutes of Super Rugby in 2017, breaking a thumb three games after returning from an off-season wrist operation.

He is expected to head into the All Blacks' first Test against the Lions on June 24 without any game time under his belt, bar perhaps a hit-out against Samoa.

Read, who re-signed through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup last week, told reporters on Wednesday that his cast would be removed late next week.

"That's six weeks, and I get to take off my cast - that's when I can really start using it again, so all things are pointing towards it being positive," Read said.

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game."

If he plays, the Crusaders No.8 will have his work cut out for him despite the injury withdrawal of English wrecking ball Billy Vunipola.

Welsh loose forward Taulupe Faletau remains an outstanding option to replace Vunipola at No.8, while skipper Sam Warburton will likely play on the openside.

Read couldn't wait to get stuck in, and backed himself to be fit and firing.

"Once every 12 years means, really, that you'll play them once in your career - so it's a very special time," Read said.

"I can't wait to see them out on the field, it'll probably give us more of an indication of how they'll play and what they'll bring."

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