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New Zealand set to be handed Coles fitness boost for Australia clash

22 August 2017 09:52

New Zealand hooker Dane Coles is set to finally make his All Blacks comeback against Australia this weekend after a frustrating spell with injuries.

Coles missed four months of action with a head injury, sitting out the British and Irish Lions series before returning for Hurricanes' Super Rugby quarter-final win over Brumbies last month.

The 30-year-old was due to return to the international fold for New Zealand's opening Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies last week, which they won 54-34, but suffered a fresh head knock in the 'game of three halves' against Taranaki and Counties Manukau and was ruled out of the Bledisloe Cup contest.

However, assistant coach Ian Foster said Coles – who last represented his country against France last November – is in line to face Australia in Dunedin after coming through training unscathed.

"He trained really well," Foster said. "He had a good week last week actually.

"He's come through [training] really well."

Sonny Bill Williams is also in contention to be selected after sustaining a head injury in the first match, an incident SANZAAR is reportedly looking into to see if medical officials should have carried out concussion tests.

Foster added: "Sonny took a knock in the weekend but he was symptom-free.

"The doctor has done what he always does when there is a suspicion of something. 

"He was held back a little bit today so we could make sure he was absolutely clear but the signs are really positive." 

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