Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

First take: Read far from best in return

Kieran Read often appeared stationed away from where the action ended up. Photo / Getty Images
Kieran Read often appeared stationed away from where the action ended up. Photo / Getty Images

Please Mister. Can we have the old Kieran Read back please?

There were glimpses of the Read we all know and love tonight, but there were also glimpses of a man who isn't in tip top shape going into the All Blacks' series against England.

There was a promising opening to his return after a six week layoff against the Western Force but a lull ensued. The game was still very young when Read produced a vintage bust and round-the-corner pass from his now accustomed wide position. Memories, wonderful memories, of 2013 came flooding back.

Read also came up with one startling late intercept, but even then was short of gas as the chasers closed in. He was - in the main - just another able body out there, and often appeared stationed away from where the action ended up.

His amazing standards of last season were proving elusive anyway, before concussion and illness struck. It's not all bad, but it's not quite happening for the outstanding No 8 so far this year.

In a way, it makes you admire the extraordinary journey of Richie McCaw even more. The long seasons, draining physical requirements and high impact of rugby these days makes long odds for a long career.

So many things can go wrong. Yet McCaw is still out there, flinging himself into the action, testing the opposition, testing the referee and testing himself when his contemporaries are long gone. He keeps coming back...and he won a World Cup on a busted foot.

- NZ Herald

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