Read and Savea a chance for second test

TOBY ROBSON IN AUCKLAND
Last updated 14:44 08/06/2014
DANIEL GALVIN/stuff.co.nz

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen reflects on a tight first test against England at Eden Park.

Julian Savea
Getty Images
ON TRACK: Injured All Black wing Julian Savea "should be okay" for the second test against England, according to coach Steve Hansen.

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All Blacks No 8 Kieran Read and wing Julian Savea are a chance to be fit and available for the All Blacks second test against England.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said today Savea "should be okay" after shaking off the knee injury that kept him out of last night's 20-15 win at Eden Park.

Read has encouragingly not had any recurrence of the concussion related symptom that saw him reduced to water boy duties during the first test ,but Hansen made clear today he wouldn't be taking any chances when it came to his star loose forward.

"Kieran is training pretty well at the moment. He did an hour and a half yesterday with no signs or symptoms, so its just a matter of, with his lack of games, whether we chuck him back in or do the safer thing and give him a week of training and hold him back and save him for the third test," Hansen said.

"It'd be nice to have him because he's a great player but we have to think about the whole year, and him. We'll make that decision once we get down to Dunedin. We'll get Monday out of the way and Tuesday then we'll have a far better idea."

Hansen was giving little away in terms of selection, but a fit Read would presumably start at No 8.

That would create an interesting selection debate at blindside where first test standout Jerome Kaino would surely press hard for a start ahead of incumbent Liam Messam.

Hansen said Savea's sore knee was in good shape and provided it does not flare up when he starts running in coming days he will be available for selection.

The All Blacks only other injury concern is fullback Israel Dagg who was subbed off early in the second half with sore thigh.

Hansen said the injury was related to a patella knee problem Dagg's been carrying for the past month.

"He's been playing on it and it only really effects his kicking. That's something we'll look at this week and decide whether we need to keep pushing that and limiting his training load on it, or we make some changes and let him have a week off and get it right."

Beauden Barrett replaced an out-of-sorts Dagg in Auckland, while wing Ben Smith is the other obvious fullback option in the squad.

Meanwhile, Hansen refused to be drawn into criticism of Welsh referee Nigel Owens, who allowed England to slow the match down before lineouts and scrums.

"I'm never going to bag the referees or the touch judges. It's a difficult game to ref, it's very complicated and we've just got to learn to adapt and adjust and work with them rather than bag them," he said.

Hansen did say he believed it would be a "good idea" if the same referee was in charge of all three tests though he understood the IRB needed to develop their top officials in the build up to next year's Rugby World Cup.

South Africa's Jaco Peyper will referee the second test in Dunedin on Saturday.

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