Rugby World Cup 2019: Kieran Read absent from All Blacks training

There was one very notable absence at the All Blacks first on-field training of the week in the build-up to their World Cup semi-final against England on Saturday.

Captain Kieran Read was nowhere to be seen at Tuesday's session at Tokyo.

Whether Read is simply being afforded some extra rest after his mammoth effort in the quarter-final win over Ireland, or there's a genuine injury concern at hand remains unclear.

In addition to his long-standing back issues, the No.8 has also been hampered by a shoulder injury this season, although there were no signs of any issues in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's win. He was also a full participant at Monday's weight-room session.

Coach Steve Hansen will front the media later on Tuesday afternoon to provide clarification.

Read has had his fair share of detractors heading into the tournament, who've suggested he was past his use-by date after spinal surgery limited his impact over the past two seasons at both Super Rugby and international level.

But the 33-year-old has responded to those critics in emphatic fashion through the tournament so far, with some enormous performances on both sides of the ball.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Kieran Read absent from All Blacks training

Hansen singled his leader out for special praise in the wake of the win over Ireland.

"He came back from a back injury," said Hansen. "He copped a lot of flak from some people about his form. But as his injury got better and better, so has his play."

"He has led the team really, really well and I think he's even got to a higher level at the World Cup."

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