Kieran Read in positive mood after injury problems
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 26/12/18 8:26am
New Zealand captain Kieran Read says he is feeling more confident about his fitness having struggled to return to his best after surgery on his back.
Read underwent surgery in late 2018 and remained on the sidelines until June, when he returned to competitive action with Canterbury Crusaders.
The 33-year-old did not play a Test for the All Blacks until the Rugby Championship in August and struggled to find top form in the tournament.
But Read, the 2013 World Player of the Year, says he felt better by the time the autumn internationals came round and is in confident mood for 2019.
"Getting over back surgery was probably the biggest thing for myself," he told New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB. "It took a lot of time and effort.
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"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."
Read will step down from New Zealand duty after next year's World Cup in Japan, having decided to look for a contract overseas, and feels it will be a positive experience.
"As a family it will be a good opportunity," he added.
"My wife and kids have made a lot of sacrifices over the years I've been playing. It's probably the hardest thing.
"You appreciate that and know how much it takes out of them. Spending more time with them would be cool."