Argentina v New Zealand, Rugby Championship
Kieran Read in doubt for Pumas Test
September 27, 2013
Kieran Read has been colossal for New Zealand this season © Getty Images
Kieran Read is in doubt for the All Blacks' Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in La Plata after missing training in Buenos Aires on Thursday with an illness. Read, 27, failed to travel with the team to their training venue, two days out from the Test at La Plata, remaining at the team hotel. All Blacks management said they would issue an update on his condition on Friday.
Read's potential absence leaves New Zealand coach Steve Hansen facing a selection quandary with only five loose forwards in the tour squad - including regular captain Richie McCaw, who is recovering from a knee injury that ruled him out of contention for the Pumas Test. Hansen will probably select Liam Messam at No.8 if Read fails to recover, with Steven Luatua moving from the replacements to blindside flanker, but Hansen then will be left without loose forward back-up on his bench. Hooker Dane Coles and prop Ben Franks are the only extra forwards on tour who weren't named on Thursday in Hansen's 23-man squad for the Test.
Hansen also must name a new captain if Read is absent, but none of the 14 other players in the starting XV have led their country.
Read and centre Conrad Smith are the only players to have played every minute of New Zealand's seven Tests this year.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (Capt), Sam Cane, Liam Messam; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Charles Piutau.
Follow live text commentary of the Test between Argentina and New Zealand on Saturday, September 28 from 1030pm (GMT) , 830am (AEST, September 29), 1030am (NZT, September 29)
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