Kieran Read back in training for Crusaders
Cape Town - All Blacks skipper Kieran Read returned to training with the Crusaders on Monday as he recovers from a long-term back injury.
The number eight is unavailable for Super Rugby ahead of the June Test window, and is not expected to play for the All Blacks in their three-Test series against France, but his return to training in Christchurch was a welcoming sight to Crusaders supporters.
The 32-year-old has been sidelined since December when he underwent surgery on his lower back to fix a nerve which caused pain in his leg and had previously worked behind closed doors to concentrate on his recovery.
"I think it was a nice surprise for everybody," Crusaders assistant backs coach Ronan O'Gara told Stuff in reference Read's return.
"Today was a walk-through, clarity (session). I think there is a plan with Razor (coach Scott Robertson) and the medical team about how much he can partake, but it's just great to have him back at the club."
Although Read's return to action is still some way off, as recovery from back surgery does not usually happen quickly, his return to training seems like a step in the right direction.
"I think it is a very slow-burner at this stage," added O'Gara.
"There is a plan in place, and with long-term injuries the plan obviously has to be pretty flexible. I think it (the sight of Read) did give all the boys a bit of a lift, and he had one or two points (to make) which is always valuable information.
"I don't know if he touched a ball, it was walking speed today."