In­jured Coles faces six months out

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - MARC HIN­TON

‘‘He is go­ing to re­quire an op­er­a­tion.’’

Dane Coles’ year from hell has taken an­other dark turn with the All Blacks hooker ruled out of the north­ern tour with a se­ri­ous knee in­jury in the week­end’s test win over France.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen con­firmed on ar­rival in Lyon on Sun­day night (Mon­day NZT) his hooker had rup­tured his ACL at the Stade de France and would face a likely six-month re­cov­ery pe­riod.

‘‘He is go­ing to re­quire an op­er­a­tion,’’ added Hansen. ‘‘It will get sorted once he gets home.’’

Coles will leave for New Zealand af­ter the All Blacks’ match against a French XV in Lyon on Wed­nes­day. He will not be re­placed on tour, with Codie Tay­lor to step up to the start­ing role for the fi­nal two tests, and Nathan Har­ris likely to slot into the bench spot.

The ex­pected re­cov­ery pe­riod of around six months will force the 30-year-old 56-test hooker out of the first part of the 2018 Su­per Rugby sea­son, with a re­turn pos­si­ble in late-April or May, de­pend­ing on his re­cov­ery.

Luck­ily for the Hur­ri­canes they have some qual­ity depth at hooker in the form of Ricky Ric­citelli and rookie All Black Asafo Au­mua.

Coles’ bit­ter blow comes on top of a four-month pe­riod out of the game this year while the world­class front-rower dealt with a mys­tery head prob­lem that he has ad­mit­ted had him ques­tion­ing whether he would play again.

Hansen said it was a tough break for the pop­u­lar All Black, es­pe­cially af­ter start­ing the test against France so well with his 10th in­ter­na­tional try.

‘‘That’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing for him,’’ added Hansen. ‘‘But, hav­ing re­cov­ered from the head knock, an ACL is noth­ing re­ally. He’ll come back from that.’’

The All Blacks were sub­lime in the first 40 min­utes of their Ar­mistice Day 38-18 vic­tory, scor­ing four con­verted tries en route to a 31-5 half­time lead.

But a buoy­ant France side rat­tled off 13 unan­swered points early in the sec­ond spell to reen­ter the con­test, be­fore the All Blacks wrapped things up with the fi­nal try.


Dane Coles down in­jured dur­ing the All Blacks’ game with France.

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