Bugger as All Blacks captain in hook-up

Kieran Read just wants to play rugby after becoming the first All Blacks captain in history to be asked to give evidence in a criminal court case on the eve of a Bledisloe Cup clash.

Former All Blacks security guard Adrian Gard was found not guilty of making up claims he discovered a bugging device at the All Blacks’ team hotel in the week leading-up to last year’s series opener with the Wallabies.

The not guilty verdict was handed down hours after Read provided a character witness – ironically – by telephone from the very same Intercontinental Hotel in Double Bay.

“It’s the way it is, yeah. I couldnt be anywhere else. I didn’t walk out of the hotel room or anything,” Read told AAP after the All Blacks’ captain’s run on Friday.

Read said he wanted to support Gard as “just a mate”.

“(It was) something I wanted to do. So I’ve done my bit so that’s all I can do now,” he said, insisting his legal duties “hasn’t had any impact” on his or the All Blacks’ preparation for Saturday night’s showdown with the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium.

“They decide to put the court case this week so that’s exactly what you have to deal with.”

The All Blacks have also been embroiled in controversy around fresh claims and allegations of an attempted an cover-up of champion halfback Aaron Smith’s infamous “toilet tryst” last year.

The off-field dramas may have given Wallabies fans hope that the world champions have taken their eye off the ball, but Read insists it’s business as usual.

“We just want to play footy. It’s our job. It’s what we came over here for so we can’t wait to get out there,” he said.

“It’s a highly anticipated clash. I expect some pretty big fireworks. If we don’t give the Wallabies the respect they deserve, we’ll certainly know about it tomorrow.

“We definitely have to hvae our minds on the job. If we’re not there tomorrow, we’ll certainly get found out.”

The All Blacks are concerned about stopping Kurtley Beale following the attacking ace’s return for his first Wallabies Test since the 2015 World Cup final loss to New Zealand.

“He’s a different dimension,” Read said.

“We’ll have to adapt to whatever he brings. For us, it’s hard to anticipate too much because of the nature of how he plays.”

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