The All Blacks are brushing off concerns surrounding Kieran Read's fitness after the captain skipped training four days out from their Rugby World Cup semifinal against England in Yokohama.

Read wasn't sighted at the morning training session in Tokyo, sparking fears about his fitness.

ANZ Sports Scene: Sam Whitelock reveals why Kieran Read missed training. Video / Mark Mitchell

Later in the day All Blacks coach Steve Hansen revealed Read is carrying a calf complaint from the quarter-final win over Ireland.

As persistent rain falls in the Japanese capital, the All Blacks weren't prepared to risk Read further aggravating the injury.


"There's no issue. You didn't see him training because he was in the gym on the bike," Hansen said. "He's got a tight calf out of the game the other day so we weren't prepared to put him on a wet track today."

Asked whether he was confident Read would be fit to start at No 8 against England, Hansen said: "Yep, 100 per cent."

All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo / Getty
All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo / Getty

Read missing training evoked memories of predecessor Richie McCaw doing likewise for the final two weeks of the 2011 World Cup while he nursed a broken foot.

Only after the tournament did McCaw detail the extent of the injury which forced him to use painkillers and harness adrenaline to push through the pain barrier.

This time around, All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock said Read was copping some lighthearted grief from teammates.

"A bit of the banter around the team is that he didn't want to get wet today," Whitelock said. "I'm sure he'll be fine, he's a tough man, he just didn't want to get wet.

"Thinking back to then Richie didn't really train for a couple of weeks. We used to always have a game of touch at the captain's run. A few of the boys couldn't work out why that got cut. It wasn't until after the tournament that a few of the boys realised Richie didn't want to run so it's a little bit the same."

Hansen also confirmed Matt Todd's shoulder injury will keep him out of the semifinal but indicated the Crusaders flanker should be available should the All Blacks progress to the final.


Highlanders blindside Shannon Frizell is likely to take Todd's place on the bench, unless the All Blacks opt to call on Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu and use Scott Barrett as blindside cover.

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