Kieran Read is “100 per cent” fit for New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against England, insists head coach Steve Hansen.
Influential skipper Read was absent from the All Blacks’ training session on Tuesday to spark fears over his availability for the mouth-watering showdown in Yokohama.
However, Hansen says Read was nursing a sore calf that New Zealand did not want to exacerbate in wet conditions.
“There is no issue. You didn’t see him train because he was in the gym on the bike,” Hansen said.
“He got a tight calf from the game the other day and we didn’t want to put him out on a wet track.”
Pressed on if Read will face England, Hansen replied: “Yeah, 100 per cent.”
Training when it’s raining!
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 22, 2019
Team-mate Sam Whitelock had a somewhat cheekier retort when asked about Read’s absence from training.
“A bit of the banter around the team is that he didn’t want to get wet today!” he said.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s a tough man, he just didn’t want to get wet.”
England coach Eddie Jones described New Zealand as “the greatest team there’s ever been in sport” ahead of the last-four meeting.
Hansen, while grateful for the compliment from his long-time friend, feels there may be a bit of kidology at play from a man renowned for a love of mind games.
“That’s a really nice statement,” Hansen said with a grin. “I’m sure Eddie believes that but he’s also being quite kind.
“It’s [kidology] a real thing but sometimes you’re better not to go there. Eddie is a smart man. He knows me well, I know him.”
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