The All Blacks have racked up a lengthy injury list of sorts over the previous weeks but thankfully for Steve Hansen, the length of that list is beginning to alleviate ahead of the imminent arrival of the British and Irish Lions.
There have been doubts surrounding the fitness of Kieran Read, Ben Smith, Dane Coles, Scott Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder for the Lions tour but thankfully for the All Blacks, it looks like Coles will return to action for the Hurricanes in the coming weeks.
The hooker has not played since March 18 due to knee and calf injuries originally. However, since then, the 30-year-old has suffered symptoms of concussion which has developed an element of doubt regarding when he can return to play.
According to reports in New Zealand, Coles’ availability for the All Blacks depends on whether he can return to Super Rugby action with the Hurricanes. Coles has been left out of the Canes squad for their upcoming two-game stint against the Bulls and the Western Force but he has been penciled in for a return against the Chiefs on June 9.
Hurricanes head coach, Steve Boyd, told Stuff that he hopes Coles will be involved when his side return to New Zealand.
“His intended or hoped return-to-play date will be against the Chiefs when we come back,” Boyd said.
Boyd also revealed that Coles’ heart-rate will be closely monitored as he returns to training this week.
“He will train twice a day every day next week, but it will all be at a prescribed number of beats per minute of his heart rate. So what they do now is try and ease that up over a period of time.”
The nature of Coles’ absence from rugby means that he is still a doubt for the All Blacks next month but the latest progress in his recovery is certainly a good sign that he is on the right track.
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