Rugby World Cup 2011
All Black Read on the mend
Kieran Read (Gallo)
Christchurch - Powerful All Blacks backrower Kieran Read confirmed on Tuesday he would not be available to play France on Saturday but expected to be right for the Canada game a week later.
Read has taken no part in the Rugby World Cup so far and only resumed training this week for the first time since suffering a serious ankle injury in a Tri-Nations Test against Australia last month.
He is the only player still attending the All Blacks medical room after Richie McCaw, Mils Muliaina and Israel Dagg, who missed their last match against Japan with minor injuries, were cleared.
Dan Carter, who was also sidelined for the Japan match with a sore back, is still not 100 percent but is expected to start the grudge match against France who have twice knocked them out of the World Cup play-offs.
An automatic first-choice selection when fit, Read has found it difficult watching the World Cup from the sidelines so far.
"But the ankle is coming on really well. I was out there today I was running on it, and doing a bit of scrum work and wrestling. It's just about getting some load back through it," he said at the end of a closed training session.
"It's not 100 percent yet although I'm working this week to try and get it right so come next week I can have a full training load."
Carter took only a limited part in training, but scrum-half Andy Ellis said the ace playmaker was confident of being available to play the All Blacks' nemesis France.
"I keep asking him how he's going and he keeps giving me the thumbs up," Ellis said.
"Today(Tuesday) was sort of our big D (defence) day and he was in and out running the show but not getting involved fully. He's keeping an eye on things making sure he will be 100 (percent) for the weekend."
Wing Zac Guildford took a full part in training a day after he was publicly reprimanded by the the All Blacks management who revealed he had a drinking problem.
Guildford is the only All Blacks apart from the injured Read who has not been required for either of their first two matches.
The team management denied this was because of his drinking and senior All Blacks readily defended the 22-year-old.
"Essentially we back Zac 100 percent. It's been dealt with appropriately and he's stood up and put his hand up and I think that's great," said Read.
"Our culture is good and that's what makes a team. We're a pretty happy team at the moment and we've just got to make sure that we stay that way and enjoy the company because that reflects out on the field."