Coles blow, as Whitelock leads All Blacks

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 20:12

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Hooker Dane Coles could be out of action for six months, after suffering ligament damage in New Zealand's 38-18 win over France at the weekend.

The world champions said Sunday that the 30-year-old will return home immediately from the team's year-end tour to undergo surgery.

"Dane Coles is to return home after rupturing his ACL in the Test win over France," the All Blacks said on Twitter.

"Coach Steve Hansen says he will require an operation with likely four to six months of recovery."

Coles scored the first try in the All Blacks' win at the Stade de France before going off with what appeared to be a foot injury.

* Meanwhile loose forward Luke Whitelock, who was called into the All Blacks squad last week, will captain his country for the first time in what is a young, exciting All Blacks team to face a French XV in the third match of the year-end tour at the Groupama Stadium (Parc Olympique Lyonnais) in Lyon on Tuesday.

Fourteen players from the team which played the Barbarians return to the matchday 23 and six new All Blacks have been named.

Jack Goodhue is at centre, while on the reserves bench Atu Moli has been named as prop cover.

Akira Ioane and Dillon Hunt are loose forward cover off the bench.

Mitch Drummond is reserve scrumhalf and Richie Mo'unga is the other reserve back.

"This is another exciting opportunity for a young, group of men to go out and experience what it's like to wear the All Blacks jersey and deal with all the pressures that come with that," Hansen said.

"We are sure that they will represent themselves, their families and the All Blacks proudly.

"Whilst Luke Whitelock is only playing his second game for the All Blacks, he was an obvious choice as captain given his experience and leadership as captain of both the Highlanders and Canterbury NPC team.

"On behalf of the All Blacks, we'd like to congratulate Luke as well as the players who are pulling on the black jersey for the first time.  It will be a proud moment for all of them."

Hansen added: "This match was included in the year-end tour itinerary at our request to allow us to provide an extra opportunity for this group.

" It'll allow us to continue to grow our depth, which will not only bode well for the here and now, but also 2019 and well beyond.

"This group has trained well and we're looking forward to watching them play at this level. We're expecting another boisterous crowd of 60,000 in Lyon which will create an exciting atmosphere for them and we're all looking forward to it."

Whitelock will become the 133rd player to captain the All Blacks. Sixty-eight players have captained the Test side, while Whitelock will become the 64th to captain the side in a non-Test.

* The Lyon match does not carry Test status so Test caps aren't awarded to those All Blacks who play in the match.

New Zealand: 15 David Havili, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Dillon Hunt, 22 Mitch Drummond, 23 Richie Mo'unga.

Date: Tuesday, November 14
Venue: Groupama Stadium, Lyon
Kick-off: 18.55 (17.55 GMT; 06.55, Wednesday, November 15 NZ time)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England) 
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), David Wilkinson (Ireland) 
Television match official: Sean Davey (England) 
Assessor: Gary Welsh (England)

Job done. #FRAvNZL pic.twitter.com/eErqIVvCt8

— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) November 11, 2017