Coles a likely starter against Lions

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Lynn McConnell     26 Jul 2017     Getty Images

Coles missed the British & Irish Lions series and nearly four months of the Hurricanes campaign due to issues with concussion.

However, he returned to the field off the bench in the quarterfinal against the Brumbies last Friday, making a key contribution to halfback TJ Perenara's try that put the game out of the reach of the Australian side.

Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree said from Johannesburg that Coles had come through the Canberra experience well, he was enjoying a good week in South Africa and there was a fair chance he would start in the game.

"He's good to go, he's got that old spark back and pretty motivated obviously.

"It's a big game for the club and it's a big game for him this weekend being his 100th so it is good to have him back," he said.

Centre Vince Aso was with the side and was available for selection which was good news for the side, Plumtree said.

The partnership between Aso and Ngani Laumape in midfield had been 'ticking along nicely' before Aso's injury and Jordie Barrett had done a great job in filling in at centre giving the side an option in the future.

He wouldn't say that Barrett would return to fullback but that appeared most likely with Nehe Milner-Skudder moving to the right wing so long as everyone came through the week of training in good shape.

Barrett's displays this year both at fullback and centre had team management enjoying finding out where Barrett was best suited, he said, adding that although he hadn't discussed it with him, he felt he enjoyed playing fullback and already had a starting Test under his belt in the role.
But he had also played a lot of rugby in the midfield and had a good skill set for that role as well. His long-kicking game would be useful in Johannesburg while also coping with the kicking game of the Lions inside backs Elton Jantjies and Ross Cronje.

"For this game we're probably more excited about him playing fullback but again, we'll wait and see what we do with the selection," he said.