All Blacks hooker Dane Coles said on Wednesday he has no concerns about heading to Australia for more than two months for the Rugby Championship, joking that he could use the time away from his three children.

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The All Blacks are due to head to Australia for the southern hemisphere tournament that has matches from November 7 through to December 12 after two Bledisloe Cup Test games against the Wallabies in New Zealand next month.

Biosecurity protocols mean players will be away from their families for about nine weeks.

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“I’ve got three kids, I’ll be on that first plane out of here,” Coles told reporters in Wellington while laughing. “It’s our job and we have got to go over there, and playing for the black jersey sometimes takes a little bit of sacrifice.

“It’s a little bit longer but if you have got to do it, you have got to do it. I’m definitely putting my hand up to go over there and play for the All Blacks.”

Coles, the 33-year-old hooker who has 69 caps since making a 2012 All Blacks debut away to Scotland at Murrayfield, added that he would support any of his teammates who opted not to go. However, he was reluctant to discuss concerns about whether the Championship might not go ahead.

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The Argentina squad have been dealing with an outbreak of Covid-19 infections and, like world champions South Africa, their domestic-based players have not played since March and would be lacking match fitness.

I don’t want to go into it further because there are that many rumours going on… right now we have got two weeks of guaranteed footy and that is awesome,” Coles said. “Any rugby, especially All Blacks footy, at the moment would be pretty good.”

South Africa go into the Championship as defending champions after winning the shortened 2019 tournament prior to winning the World Cup in Japan. 

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