Coles looking forward to Best showdown
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks hooker Dane Coles is looking forward to his personal battle with Ireland captain Rory Best this coming weekend.
The All Blacks face Ireland in Chicago on Saturday in what will be the first of two matches between the two sides in November.
Coles played against Best before and he praised the Irishman for his "outrageous work rate".
"I've got a lot of respect for the guy, I've always wanted to play against him and I'm really looking forward, if I get the chance, to have that battle because he's a world-class hooker," Coles told allblacks.com.
The All Blacks suffered a blow with the loss of both Brodie Retallick (concussion) and Samuel Whitelock (ankle sprain) ahead of the game. However, it will give the other locks (Patrick Tuipulotu, Luke Romano, Scott Barrett and Vaea Fifita) in the squad an opportunity to shine on the international stage.
Coles' fellow hooker Codie Taylor, who also plays for the Crusaders, believes Whitelock has set the standard for the rest of the locks in the squad, especially for Romano and Barrett
"He's [Whitelock] always working on his line-out jumping, the same with Lukey [Luke Romano]," Taylor told allblacks.com
"You can't take anything away from them they are two great options to have and that's on the back of the standard that Sam sets. It pushes the other boys to set their standards as high and to work on that as well."
Taylor said he had learnt plenty being in the All Blacks environment this year and from Coles especially.
"He's helped me heaps with my set-piece work," Taylor added.
"Line-out throwing is obviously important for us and scrum time – we're always butting heads and that and learning new things about each other.
"I've watched him play since I was a young fellow, he's from the same area as me which is pretty inspiring. He's one to help you out, he's not going to stand off and not share what he knows which is a good thing about this environment."