All Blacks captain Kieran Read is under no illusions about just how tough this Wallabies team will be in the first Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney on Saturday night.
Speaking to media at the All Blacks’ captain’s run for the first time this year, Read singled out Wallaby loose forwards David Pocock and Michael Hooper as key threats.
“They are world-class players and we’ll have to be on our game to nullify what their strength is.”
Read will lead out a side that is bolstered by not just his return but also lock Brodie Retallick. However, he was quick to downplay what sort of advantage that experience will bring.
“What we can’t do is rest on the likes of me or Brodie coming back in, and think it’s just going to happen for us. We need to work hard right from the outset.”
As for his own disrupted season in which he was recovering from spinal surgery, Read wasn’t able to completely confirm he was 100 percent, but said it’s been an ‘awesome week with the lads’.
“I can’t wait to get back on the field with the boys. With an injury like I had, there was a bit of doubt floating around, but once I go on the process of recovery I was in a good space.”
He did hint that the injury could have kept him out for longer than first half of the season he’s used to recover.
“Probably early on I didn’t think it’d be this quick. So I’m really happy to be here.”
Read said the All Blacks would do their best to take in some of the Black Ferns game against Australia, which is being played before their test at Olympic Park on Saturday night.