All Blacks captain Kieran Read says he is “in really good shape” following back surgery and is feeling confident about his fitness heading into 2019.
Read missed the first half of 2018 after undergoing treatment late last year and has struggled to rediscover his best form since making his comeback.
However, with New Zealand’s World Cup title defence on the horizon – after which Read will stand down from All Blacks duty – the 33-year-old is optimistic about what next year might hold.
“Getting over back surgery was probably the biggest thing for myself,” he told Newstalk ZB. “It took a lot of time and effort.
“It’s been 12 months since the surgery and it probably wasn’t until the end of the year where I started feeling somewhat decent physically.
“Where I was at this point last year, the pain I was in, it [surgery] was needed. It’s been a fairly fast recovery in some respects. I’ve worked pretty hard at it and I’m in good shape now.
“So it bodes well to head into this off-season and pre-season feeling in really good shape.”
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