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Another All Black decides his playing future

NEWS: All Blacks star Dane Coles decided that he will retire at the end of 2023.

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The World Cup winner and World Rugby Player of the Year nominee made the decision recently and wanted to make it official before launching into his final season in New Zealand rugby, starting with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Pacific.

The 36-year-old’s decision brings an end to an illustrious 17 years at the top level for Wellington, the Hurricanes, Māori All Blacks and All Blacks.

“Thank you to Pōneke FC, Wellington, the Hurricanes and the All Blacks for giving me my dream job,” Coles said.

“I’m looking forward to enjoying the year and creating some new memories.”

Since his professional debut for Wellington in 2007, his speed and skills have redefined the hooker position.

With 100 Test points (20 tries), he sits third-equal alongside Ardie Savea on the all-time scorers list for All Blacks forwards. Ahead of them are Richie McCaw (135) and Kieran Read (130).

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In 11 international seasons, the 84-Test veteran has also become the third most-capped hooker in All Blacks history behind Keven Mealamu (132) and Sean Fitzpatrick (92).

“I would like to congratulate Dane on an outstanding career that has brought fans so many special moments at all levels of the game,” New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said.

“He has been an outstanding servant of the All Blacks, the Hurricanes and Wellington who always puts the team first. We look forward to celebrating this final year of his career with him and his family.”

All Blacks coach Ian Foster added: “Dane is a hundred percent committed, loves his family, loves his rugby. And there is no doubt about his absolute commitment to the Hurricanes and the All Black jersey.”

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In 2016 he captained the Hurricanes to their maiden Super Rugby title, famously playing through the pain of rib cartilage damage in the final. That saw him named Wellingtonian of the Year, an award which was quickly followed by the Tom French Memorial Cup for Māori rugby player of the year.

For over a decade he has been one of the Hurricanes’ most popular players.

“Colesy has been a huge part of the Hurricanes since his debut in 2009,” said Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee.

“He lives our values every day and we know his leadership and commitment will be as important as ever in 2023. We will celebrate his immense contribution at the end of the season.”

The former Paraparaumu College and Wellington College student is proud to represent his community, playing 70 games for the Wellington Lions.

“Wellington Rugby will forever remember Colesy as one of the all-time greats to represent the province,” said Wellington Rugby CEO Shannon Paku.

“His unwavering loyalty and relentless passion while wearing the Wellington jersey will not be forgotten. The greater Wellington rugby whānau wishes Colesy, Sarah and their family all the best in their future endeavours.”

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