James Mortimer 11.Aug.2012Getty Images
Read has been out of action since July 6, with a rib injury ruling him out of three straight Crusaders matches, which was another chapter on a season of attrition for a man touted in some quarters as a future test captain.
A heavy knock to the pelvis, a nose injury, concussion and now his rib injury have prevented Read from being a regular starter this season, but it appears that the influential eightman will start against the team the All Blacks last faced in the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
The All Blacks arrived in Auckland yesterday before heading to Waitakere, prior to playing at Pukekohe, and Read said that while he hadn't given his ribs a heavy session, he was positive about his chances.
"They're feeling really good, I haven't pushed them yet and not a lot of contact, so I'll just have to see how they pull up next week but feeling really good at the moment,' Read said.
Read was a massive presence for the Crusaders in the early stages of the Investec Super Rugby season, and this led to his coach Todd Blackadder regarding him as perhaps the best player in the world.
Heady words considering the presence of McCaw and Carter in the Crusaders team.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen might have toned down his praise, but didn't deny Read was a crucial part of the World Champions back row.
"He's one of the best number eights in the world," he said.
"He understands the game and he's a great reader of the game so he's an important part."
If recent Wallabies training runs are any indication, then Read (if he is cleared fit) will come up against Reds enforcer Scott Higginbotham.
So far this season if Read has been absent, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has shifted to eight, although a specialist number eight in Victor Vito is in the squad for The Investec Rugby Championship.