First, it was a concussion suffered against the Highlanders, then a troubling calf issue and then the return of the symptoms of concussion which led to Dane Coles’ non-inclusion for the All Blacks’ three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
It was a huge blow for everyone involved, Coles is one of the most exciting hookers in world rugby, and there are few players in his position who can match his dynamism and skill in the loose. His continued absence over the last number of weeks and months led to murmurings that these issues could threaten his career and that certainly seemed to be the case as Coles told the Dominion Post.
“I got into a bit of a dark place. I couldn’t even do any exercise and I had conversations with my partner about retirement. It was really hard. I love playing footy, it’s my job and I couldn’t do it,” Coles admitted.
Coles was in quite a negative mental state as he thought his professional rugby career could be coming to an end but he received some good advice and subsequently sought the help of a sports psychologist which got him back into a positive frame of mind again.
“I had a talk to my missus and said ‘this might be us, I might be hanging up the boots’ and that was about it…..I spoke to a few good people and they gave me some really good structures to help me see a positive mindset and turn things around.”
Now, Coles is fit and symptom-free and looks set to play his first game of rugby in 125 days against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday as the Hurricanes look to progress to the semi-final of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
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