All Blacks face anxious wait on duo
August 28, 2011
Supporters of the Kiwis will have their fingers crossed on the fitness of Read © Getty Images
New Zealand face an anxious wait to see if No.8 Kieran Read and flanker Adam Thomson will be fit for next month's Rugby World Cup.
The back-row duo were both forced out of the All Blacks' Tri-Nations defeat to Australia in Brisbane on Saturday with Read subsequently diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and Thomson sidelined with a hyper-extended elbow. Both players will undergo further tests on their injuries in Auckland on Sunday.
Coach Graham Henry is optimistic on the fitness of Read who has been a central figure for the side since makin his Test bow in 2008. "We're pretty positive really about Kieran. The doctor thinks he'll be able to play in the World Cup," Henry said. "It may be a slow start for him but really I'm only speculating. I'm hopeful."
However, the news surrounding Thomson was not so positive. "It doesn't look good, we'll just have to wait and see," added Henry. Chiefs back-row Liam Messam would appear to be the likely replacement-in-waiting having been a high profile omission from the All Blacks' 30-man squad for the World Cup. Victor Vito and lock Ali Williams were forced to form a makeshift back-row at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Skipper Richie McCaw emphasised the importance of his Crusaders team-mate Read commenting: "Kieran's a big loss. He's a hell of a good player when he's fit and running around," said McCaw. "That's the challenge you get in rugby isn't it? When guys get injured."
The World Cup is now just under a fortnight away with New Zealand kicking off the tournament against Tonga on September 9.
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