Menu allblacks.com

News

Mixed messages before Coles gets All Blacks news

Getty Images

Sportal.co.nz     30 Oct 2012     Getty Images

The Hurricanes and Wellington hooker had expected the announcement of the 32-man squad to tour Europe to be on television only to find it wasn't.

Next came a text message from a friend saying 'you've made it' before Coles finally heard his name read out by New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Mike Eagle via the radio.

"I was just stunned. I was in another world. It took me a couple of minutes to pull myself together," said the delighted 25-year-old, who along with Waikato halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow were the only uncapped players in Steve Hansen's squad.

"I'm very happy and humble. Ever since I was a young boy I've always wanted to be an All Black. Just to hear your name get read out is just an honour. I'm just so stoked."

Coles said earlier this month he felt he had given himself his best shot ever of making the All Blacks this year.

Always a dynamic and mobile hooker, he has worked hard on his scrummaging and line-out throwing this year.

He has also benefited from being the first-choice hooker at the Hurricanes and Wellington after spending three seasons sitting behind Andrew Hore at Super Rugby level.

"There was a massive opportunity for a hooker to step up (when Hore left the Hurricanes)," said Coles. "I wanted to make that my goal. I think I did that.

"If you're starting in the No.2 spot you can play consistent rugby.

"I got a few starting spots in the Canes and being in good systems like the Hurricanes and the Wellington Lions was good culture.

"If you've got a good culture I think it makes you go out and play your best rugby.

"My core jobs definitely improved in the ITM Cup. I think just doing my core roles and my consistency was probably a lot better than it has been."

His reward is a trip to Europe, a part of the world he has never visited, the chance to work alongside and learn from veterans Keven Mealamu and Hore and the possibility of finally pulling on the black jersey.

"I think I've had to work pretty hard and do a few years on the bench to get here," Coles said. "But it's made me a little bit stronger and a little bit hungrier to finally realise my dream.

"The All Blacks is a pretty special environment. They've been playing some awesome rugby.

"I just want to get in there and see how things run. They are perfectionists. There's obviously going to be a lot of info chucked at me because they've been together for the whole year.

"I've got to do my homework I suppose and just make sure I know my roles and stuff like that.

"If I get a chance to put the black jersey on I'm going to take it with both hands."