Injured Coles faces six months out
‘‘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.