New Zealand No 8 Kieran Read will miss the opening weeks of Rugby World Cup 2011 while fellow loose forward Adam Thomson is likely to be unavailable for the opening match against Tonga on 9 September.

The news about the duo, who were injured in Saturday’s Tri Nations defeat by Australia, was confirmed by All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson in a New Zealand Rugby Union news release on Tuesday.

Read suffered a high ankle sprain and Thomson sustained an elbow injury during the 25-20 loss in Brisbane and missed Monday’s official squad presentation in Auckland as they were undergoing MRI scans in Christchurch.

Robinson said: “Kieran has torn the ligament between the tibia and fibula at the front of his left ankle and while it’s still early days in his recovery, with aggressive rehabilitation we are aiming to have him available to play near the end of the round robin.

“Adam’s MRI scan shows some swelling around the inside of his elbow which should settle quickly. He also has some deep bruising to his upper arm and while it’s difficult to know how long that will take to settle, we are hoping he will be ready for selection for the All Blacks’ second round robin match against Japan.”

Hosts New Zealand kick off RWC 2011 against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland, before facing Japan in Hamilton on 16 September.

The injuries look to have opened a door of opportunity for Victor Vito, who replaced Read in Brisbane.

Read and Thomson will remain with the All Blacks as they undergo their rehabilitation. The squad reassembles in Auckland on Friday.