Read ready for action

New Zealand will use their final Pool A match this weekend as a chance to give number-eight Kieran Read his first taste of action at this World Cup. The loose-forward has been out of action since last month, where he picked up an ankle injury against Australia, narrowly securing his place in Graham Henry’s squad. Read has now returned to training and has convinced the All Blacks’ management that he is ready to return to the team on Sunday.

Read has established himself as one of the world’s best number-eights, as well as forming one of world rugby’s most effective loose-forward combinations with Richie McCaw and Jerome Kaino. Having the trio back together in the latter stages of this tournament will certainly boost the host’s chances and New Zealand will be keen to blood Read in the relatively easy clash against Canada. Those looking at the Rugby 2011 World Cup betting will be expecting an easy win for the All Blacks, but Read will be looking to get a good game under his belt to aid his return to fitness.

All Blacks’ assistant coach Steve Hansen confirmed Read was back in contention for selection for the Canada game, while also revealing that although winger Richard Kahui’s hamstring injury isn’t as serious as first thought, it will rule him out of this weekend’s final group match.

He said: “Kieran Read will be available at this stage so unless something goes wrong, you can expect to him to be available.”

“Kahui probably won’t play. It is not a serious hamstring but it is precautionary. We will give him a week off to make sure he is dead right.”

Corey Jane is thought to be available for the Canada match, following a bout of blurred vision after a collision in the comprehensive victory against France. The versatile back has been in scintillating form so far in this tournament but the All Blacks’ management may decide to rest Jane until the quarter-finals. Full-back Israel Dagg is a similar case after picking up a knock to his thigh but will definitely be ready for the quarter-finals. Those following the rugby betting odds will know the changes won’t make much difference to Canada’s chances of winning this weekend.

While Canada have shown some definite signs of improvement, most recently in a battling display against the French last week, although the Kiwis will be confident of seeing off the North Americans without breaking too much of a sweat.

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