7 Apr 2017

Read ready for return

5:10 pm on 7 April 2017

The All Blacks captain Kieran Read will finally return to the field on Saturday, four months after his last game of rugby.

Read will turn out for his club side University for the first time since 2008 and is expected to play half a game in their match against Linwood.

Read has had an extended off season recovering from wrist surgery.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read after the All Blacks again retained the Bledisloe Cup in 2016.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read after the All Blacks again retained the Bledisloe Cup in 2016. Photo: Photosport

His last match was the Test win over France in Paris in November.

Read is expected to attract a sizeable crowd at Linwood Park, mirroring the response when former All Blacks greats Richie McCaw and Dan Carter made the occasional turnout in Christchurch club rugby in recent years.

If fit, the 31-year-old will lead the All Blacks in their three-Test series against the touring British and Irish Lions starting in June.

He is poised to become the seventh All Black to play a century of Tests during that series.

The University-Linwood clash will see the return of another Crusader from long- term injury.

Richie Mo'unga is likely to play his first game since breaking a bone in his hand in the opening round against the Brumbies six weeks ago.

Read is expected to return to Super rugby next week when the Cruasaders play the Japanese side the Sunwolves.