Coles looking to reclaim All Black jersey
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles, who recently returned to the playing field after being sidelined with concussion since March, is eyeing a return to the All Blacks starting team.
Coles missed the historic three match Test-series against the British and Irish Lions after developing concussion symptoms after playing in a Super Rugby regular season match against the Highlanders on March 18.
The 49 Test capped All Black last played for New Zealand during their 24-19 victory over France at the Stade de France in Paris in November 2016.
Coles made a welcome return to the playing field after being given game time off the bench during the Hurricanes 35-16 Super Rugby quarterfinal victory over the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra on July 21.
The dynamic forward reached a significant milestone during the Super Rugby semifinal defeat against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday as he played in his 100th Super Rugby game for the Hurricanes.
The international season is set to resume once again when the All Blacks open the defence of the Bledisloe Cup and their Rugby Championship title with a clash against Australia at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on August 19.
Crusaders hooker Cody Taylor has been the All Blacks first choice since Coles was injured and speaking to reporters ahead of the start of the Rugby Championship, Coles said that he is eying a return to the famous black jersey.
"Obviously a frustrating year, but I am just happy to be back playing some footy and hopefully I will give myself the chance to put the black jersey on again, But that's out of my control," said Coles.
Coles added that missing the three match Test-series against the British and Irish Lions in June was "frustrating". However, he acknowledged that injuries are part of the game and he is just happy to be back on the playing field.
"It was pretty frustrating, but it's one of those things, I couldn't control," Coles explained.
By Josh Isaacson