New Zealand Tour
Refreshed Read ready to roll
October 26, 2010
Kieran Read has been in fine form for the All Blacks this year © Getty Images
In an ominous declaration for New Zealand's upcoming opponents, No.8 Kieran Read has revealed that he feels fully revitalised after his mid-season break.
Read was one of only three players excused from provincial duty following the conclusion of the All Blacks' successful Tri-Nations campaign, with Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith the other men ordered to rest up by head coach Graham Henry.
The 25-year-old back-row didn't ask for the time off but he has admitted that it has done him the power of good ahead of Saturday's Tour opener against Australia in Hong Kong.
"I'm feeling really good. Obviously it's hard to judge when you haven't played a game but I had a good hit out in the trial (in Auckland last Saturday)," he said.
"I've never really had time off in the middle of a season before but I do feel it's going to be as benefit. It's resting the body but more so the mind..... getting away from a rugby environment.
"Physically, I could have kept playing on but you do get niggles throughout a season. At the moment I'm feeling good in that respect and mentally it's great to have a little break from the game. I'm raring to get back into it."
The Kiwis have included just five loose forwards in their travelling party and that means that Read is likely to see plenty of game time in the coming weeks, a prospect that he is quite excited by.
"Only one loosie won't play each week. You've got to be ready to go out there and put the effort in.... I'm looking forward to hopefully five games," he said.
Read made his Test debut against the Wallabies in Hong Kong two years ago and has since gone on to prove himself as one of the finest forwards in world rugby. Indeed, he admits that he has come along way since first pulling on the famous black jersey for the first time.
"Now I've got the self belief to know I'm good enough to be playing at this level. That's probably the big difference," he said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.