WELLINGTON - Kieran Read has recovered from his rib injury and is seeking another suffocating All Blacks forward performance against Australia in tonight's Bledisloe Cup Test.
Missing out on the end of the Crusaders' Super Rugby campaign was frustrating for the world-class No.8 but he said the silver lining was a refreshed state heading into the first match of the inaugural four-nation Rugby Championship.
Read's focus was squarely on what many see as the chink in Australia's armour - their tight five.
That's where the All Blacks established control in the World Cup semi-final in Auckland last October when the teams last met.
"You play against Australia and that's the area you want to target them," Read told reporters.
"We want to play our kind of game, which is all about starting with the forward pack and setting the standard there."
However, Read said there was no chance of overlooking the Wallabies' highly-skilled methods, with halfback Will Genia at the tiller.
"The Aussies are very smart in what they do. You can't just turn up and expect to go with them," Read said.
"It's always hard to really dominate them, especially over there. They'll try to play with the ball a lot more and try to stretch you.
"It's a quick game as well so you prepare accordingly."
Meanwhile, a sheepish Read voiced concern that he was the squad's designated fourth-choice lock should injury befall the thin three-pronged locking stocks for the Rugby Championship comprising Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick.
"A little bit worried," he laughed. "My ears have already taken a hell of a pounding."