Speaking about the previously unknown injury in his new autobiography Straight Eight, Read revealed that he picked up the calf niggle during his side’s emphatic quarter-final victory over Ireland, which had prevented him from taking part in team training sessions in the lead-up to the England clash.
The 34-year-old loose forward questioned whether his lack of participation in the build-up to the semi-final showdown influenced the outcome of the match, which the All Blacks lost 19-7 in Yokohama.
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“What if I had been able to train with the team that week instead of watching from the sideline?” Read wrote.
“What if I had been out there to offer a little more direction, or reassurance, or assistance?”
Read ultimately took to the field against England, and made no excuses about his calf or the English performance, which he described as “simply too good”.
Bender's French adventure off to a shockerhttps://t.co/52alnlN3kb
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 22, 2019
Regardless of England’s supreme on-field efforts, the revelation of Read’s leg injury epitomises a poor All Blacks showing which prevented them from pursuing an unprecedented hat-trick of World Cup titles.
A vigorous English defence, masterminded by ex-All Blacks coach John Mitchell, repelled almost every wave of attack from Steve Hansen’s men, while New Zealand’s accuracy at the lineout – a key aspect of their game plan of which Read played a vital role in – failed to fire.
Read’s calf injury was also symbolic of his final two years as an All Black, which was a time of his career that plagued by injuries that kept him sidelined for long periods at a time.
The 128-test star was criticised by many for his rotten luck of injuries, with many suggesting that he was past the peak of his powers, but his leadership qualities and experience proved to be indispensable.
Since his retirement from international rugby, Read has moved to Japan to begin the next chapter of his career, where he will work with Hansen at Top League club Toyota Verblitz.
The former Crusaders No. 8 could make his debut for his new team as early as January 12, when Verblitz take on Yamaha Jubilo in their 2020 Top League season-opener at Yamaha Stadium in Iwata.
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