New Zealand hooker Dane Coles will miss the Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia on Saturday after suffering another head injury setback.
Coles spent four months on the sidelines and revealed he considered retirement as he struggled with concussion before making his comeback in Hurricanes’ Super Rugby quarter-final win over Brumbies last month.
The 30-year-old was set to make his All Blacks return for the Rugby Championship clash in Sydney next weekend, but took another knock to the head in the ‘game of three halves’ against Taranaki and Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Friday.
Coles was taken off as a precaution and his Hurricanes team-mate Ricky Riccitelli has been called up as cover.
The world champions’ medical team will assess Coles, who has 49 caps to his name, in the build-up to the encounter with the Wallabies, but he will play no part at ANZ Stadium.
Nehe Milner-Skudder and David Havili will also miss the trans-Tasman after they were released from the All Blacks squad.
New Zealand go into the match as strong favourites, but captain Kieran Read knows Michael Cheika’s men are capable of turning it on.
“They’ve got something that we know if they put it together they’re a dangerous side.” he said.
“Our respect to them is we turn up and play as well as we can because we know what they can bring. So I think that shows on the field.
“Our biggest respect to opposition is that we go out there and bring the best game that we can. That shows that we respect them and we’re going to go out there and do that again next week.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now