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Read 'good as gold'

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Sportal.co.nz     30 Sep 2011     Getty Images

Read, who has yet to play in the Rugby World Cup after damaging ankle ligaments playing against Australia in the Investec Tri Nations last month, sent a scare through the New Zealand camp when he rolled the same ankle in training on Wednesday.

But Hansen said on Thursday morning the Canterbury loose forward was "as good as gold" and would take to the field at Wellington Regional Stadium.

"What tends to happen with the injury he has had is you can roll it (the ankle) pretty easy," Hansen said.

"He did that yesterday. He got a fright. We all got a fright. But within half-an-hour it was fine. He'll be training fully (Friday) and playing on Sunday."

"I don't think he's ready to play 80 minutes because he's been out for four or five weeks. He probably won't play the whole game."

Richard Kahui (hamstring) is the only player ruled out of the pool A match against the Kieran Crowley-led Canucks, but Adam Thomson is in doubt as he recovers from knee and ankle injuries he suffered in the win against the French.

"We'll see what he's like over the next 48 hours," Hansen said.

Israel Dagg (thigh) is available for selection, but Hansen revealed that Cory Jane (head knock) was unlikely to take the field as they take a conservative approach with the knock-out stages looming, despite the winger being fit to play.

There has been much conjecture about how much tinkering the All Blacks coaches will do to their line-up.

Backs coach Wayne Smith had earlier said it was a balancing act between keeping the core group intact to ensure the team keeps building momentum and giving those players who have had no game-time (Mils Muliaina and Zac Guildford) or limited game time (Corey Flynn, John Afoa, Isaia Toeava, Victor Vito) a chance.

Hansen agreed with his colleague.

"What we'd like to do is pick the core of the side again. But there has been some people who are injured and there are a handful of people that need some rugby," Hansen said.

"How we do that, whether we put them all in the same line-up or bring some of them off the bench, is to be discussed."

"People that you know may come into the tournament later on because of injuries need to have rugby and the only way we can give them rugby is in the tournament itself. This is the game that you'd probably give some of those people a trot."

The mantra from the All Blacks all week has been about the need to improve with each performance and Hansen did not stray from that on Thursday.

"We want to go up another notch," he said.

"Our last performance was pretty good but there are still things in it that we would like to do better – play the game at more pace with more accuracy and more intensity and apply more pressure to the opposition."

"We want to build another block towards what will be the knock-out game the following Sunday, against Argentina I guess it will be at this point."