Coles suffers setback, out of first Bledisloe Test

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Lynn McConnell     13 Aug 2017     Getty Images

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said on Sunday, after the side arrived in Sydney that Coles had been withdrawn from consideration for Saturday's game after he suffered a knock in the warm-up game of three halves in Pukekohe on Friday.


Hansen said Coles would have been able to play if the selectors wanted him to but they were taking a precautionary approach. He said Coles was frustrated because he wanted to play. He had copped an elbow or knee in the game and was taken off straight away in Pukekohe.

"It is nothing too serious but it was enough for us to say we don't want to play him," he said.

Coles' Hurricanes team-mate Ricky Riccitelli joined the team in Sydney as cover. Hansen said he was a mobile player, an ex-prop so was a good scrummager and was 'tidy enough' in the lineouts who he did his core roles very well.

First choice replacement Codie Taylor played all of the series against the British & Irish Lions so it was another opportunity for him and substitute Nathan Harris.

Hansen said Coles should be all right to be considered for the second game against Australia in Dunedin a week on Saturday.

Coles was the only injury concern for the side and with the Crusaders recovering from their travel to Johannesburg they had the spring back in their step and the team management was looking forward to a good week of preparation in Sydney, Hansen said.

The fact the series with the Lions had been drawn was motivation enough for the players to want to lift their performances.

"We were disappointed with how things went and we wanted more. It will make the Investec Rugby Championship a little bit more of a stronger feeling for us and where we really want to show how good we can play and we probably didn't do that in the Lions series," he said.

Hansen was expecting a good Wallabies side for the Tests. They had good talent and while there were issues in the Australian rugby the players had been well prepared with two or three extra weeks to prepare for the game than New Zealand had and he knew they had been working hard and that would make them a tough obstacle on Saturday.

He said he was confident they understood the flaws the Lions had exposed and he was equally confident that they would work hard on improving on them.

"It's going to be a good game, we're looking forward to it," he said.