Coles bursts into All Black frame

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 08:11
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Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles is the only new face in a 28-man All Blacks training squad for the Rugby Championship.

Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles is the only new face in a 28-man All Blacks training squad for the Rugby Championship.

The squad, which does not include any Chiefs players, will assemble in Wellington on Wednesday and Thursday this week as coach Steve Hansen gets preparations for the four-nation tournament underway.

The All Blacks coach said that it would be a good opportunity to look back on their recent performances against Ireland and identify areas of possible improvement.

"We will mainly be looking to re-establish the way we do things in the All Blacks, and it'll also give those players who haven't played much rugby recently, the chance for a good hit-out," he said.

Coles is the only player in the squad that was not involved in the series against Ireland, and Hansen said that he was keen to explore the depth at hooker by taking a look at what the dynamic Coles has to offer.

"We already know a lot about Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn and Hika Elliot and now it's Dane Coles' chance to come into the All Blacks environment and gives us the opportunity to see him at closer quarters," he said.

Both Conrad Smith and Luke Romano have been named in the squad despite battling injury.

Romano left the field early in the Crusaders' Super Rugby semifinal loss to the Chiefs with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss the first two Tests against Australia whilst Smith has had to have eye surgery and will not be available for six weeks.

Notable omissions include Crusaders Andy Ellis and Ryan Crotty, which could mean that Chiefs players like Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Sonny Bill Williams have a better chance of making the squad.

The All Blacks final Rugby Championship squad will be named on Sunday August 5 when Chiefs players involved in the Super Rugby Final on Saturday are integrated into the group.

All Black training squad: Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Ma'a Nonu, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Victor Vito, Daniel Carter, Wyatt Crockett, Israel Dagg, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Zac Guildford, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Tamati Ellison, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Adam Thomson.