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Why All Black Dane Coles ‘sprayed’ Tyrel Lomax during his first Super Rugby start

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

All Blacks front-rowers Tyrel Lomax and Dane Coles have formed a formidable connection at both Super Rugby and Test level, but the pair didn’t always see eye to eye.

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Before they were teammates at the Hurricanes and All Blacks, veteran Coles looked to unnerve a young Lomax in his first start at Super Rugby level.

Born in Canberra, Lomax spent the first four years of his life in Australia as his father played professional rugby league for the Canberra Raiders.

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While the future All Black ended up moving back to New Zealand for most of his childhood, he went back across the ditch as a teenager.

Lomax went on to player for the Junior Wallabies, and plied his trade as a Brumbies development player before signing for the Melbourne Rebels.

After making his debut for the Rebels off the bench in the opening round of the 2017 season, the tighthead prop ran out for his first start a week later.

The Hurricanes went on to win that clash by an emphatic 65-points, and Lomax remembers getting “sprayed” by two of his future teammates – a memory he said was “pretty cool.”

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“Dane Coles… he’s someone who I used to watch his highlights as a kid because he was pretty special and now I’m playing with him,” Lomax told RugbyPass.

“I remember he sprayed me.

“In my second game for the Rebels, I got to start and he was calling me a schoolboy, just spraying me and that was pretty cool.

“We have (spoken about it). Him and Ben May, they talked about it before the game going ‘who’s this kid’ playing against them, starting at tighthead.

“We had a little bit of a laugh about it.”

Lomax and Coles could’ve gone head-to-head at Test level as well, had the Canberra-born talent decided to stay in Australia.

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After impressing at Super Rugby level for the Rebels, Lomax was called into a Wallabies training camp in 2017 – and even took some photos wearing the coveted green and gold jersey.

But speaking with RugbyPass, Lomax opened up about how that experience forced him to make a defining decision about his future.

“There was sort of that little bit of pressure,” Lomax added.

“I’d been called into that Wallabies camp and sort of made me have to make my decision a little bit quicker, I couldn’t keep saying, ‘Oh I’m not too sure who I want to play for.’

“I had to make a decision and it was about where I wanted to play my career for the next 10 or so years and I just felt that was in New Zealand, closer to my family.

“I was just looking at the bigger picture, my Dad played for the Kiwis and that was my dream as a kid.

“I always felt like I was a kiwi in Australia, I always just felt like New Zealand was my home.”

Lomax and the Hurricanes have travelled to Fiji ahead of their clash with the Fijian Drua in Suva on Saturday afternoon.

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Turlough 3 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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