The Coles Face

Steve Hansen would have woken up to a headache this morning – it turns out that Dane Coles has concussion symptoms as well as a calf that has kept him out of rugby since he limped off against the Highlanders in March.

Of all the injuries it is Coles alongside Kieran Read that will the most troubling.

In fact it seems likely that Read will be back playing at least couple of weeks before the first test against the Lions and since a broken thumb won’t stop him training he will not lack for fitness.

The news about Coles is less promising, not least because he has several times more caps and experience than the understudies Codie Taylor, Liam Coltman and Nathan Harris.

Concussion was not mentioned before yesterday and a bigger problem is that no one seems to know when this trauma occurred. A calf injury is particularly bad for a hooker in the scrums, but concussion can take an indeterminate time to overcome.

It doesn’t look good for Coles and whilst Codie Taylor is no slouch he is equally no Dane Coles.

It was a concussion problem with Ben Smith who was out of the game from the opening round of Super Rugby until mid-March.

Despite all the injuries in the All Black ranks no one should be fooled into thinking they will be understrength – if you watch Super Rugby at all you will be well aware of players who will almost certainly be in Hansen’s extended squad.

But I suspect that Dane Coles is one of the first on the team sheet and they will be sweating on his recovery.

I think we should worry about the current injuries in the Lions squad and hope that no more happen before the plane takes off – or in the tough games leading up to Eden Park on 24th June.


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