The All Blacks on Tuesday said injuries had forced number eight Kieran Read and flanker Sam Cane out of New Zealand’s opening Test against England, with winger Julian Savea also in doubt.
Coach Steve Hansen said Read was suffering from concussion and would miss Saturday’s match in Auckland, while Cane was out for the entire three-Test series after scans showed he had a small knee fracture picked up in the Waikato Chiefs’ loss to the NSW Waratahs on Saturday.
Hansen said Savea was undergoing tests on his knee to determine if he could play on Saturday.
He said Read, the reigning IRB World Player of the Year, was feeling the effects of two concussions which have sidelined him for much of this year’s Super 15 competition.
“Kieran Read’s woken up not feeling the best so we’ve immediately withdrawn him, we’re not prepared to risk him playing,” Hansen told reporters.
He said the 28-year-old was frustrated at missing out but management were taking no chances with concussion.
“It’s our decision not his and we’re just progressing him day by day,” he said.
Steven Luatua has been brought into the All Blacks squad to replace Read, while Matt Todd was already with the group as cover for Cane.