Coles out of first Bledisloe Test


All Blacks’ hooker Dane Coles is out of the first Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in the Rugby Championship after suffering a knock to the head.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen confirmed that Coles picked up the injury in Friday’s warm-up game against Pukekohe but while he will miss this Saturday’s clash in Sydney, he could return when the two teams meet again the following week.

On the decision not to play Coles, Hansen said to Stuff: “He’d be able to play if we really wanted him to, but we’re taking a precautious route, so we’ve withdrawn him from playing.

“He’s over here, he’s going to train with us. Nothing too serious but enough to say that we don’t want to play him. He should be available for Dunedin.

“He’s a bit frustrated as he wants to play, but the doc doesn’t want him to, so we’re supporting the doc.”

Coles had only just returned from four months out with a concussion, missing the recent Lions tour, with Codie Taylor deputising.

Ricky Riccitelli, Coles’ Hurricanes teammate, has been called up to the All Blacks squad to replace Coles.