Experienced hooker Dane Coles has never been shy about his feelings for the All Blacks jersey, and that attitude will be to the fore again as New Zealand look to complete their season like no other with a win over France in Paris on Sunday (NZT).
It will be a celebration of more than just rugby when a capacity crowd returns to Principality Stadium for the first time since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic to watch the All Blacks and Wales renew their long-standing rivalry.
After all the talk about respective styles of play, the deciding moments of the final Fortinet Rugby Championship Test came down to crucial kicks by both sides before New Zealand were denied a Grand Slam 29-31 on the Gold Coast early on Sunday morning (NZT).
Fullback Jordie Barrett joined the contenders in consideration for the greatest Test match goal-kicks by All Blacks when hitting a 50-metre match-winner against South Africa in the centenary Test to win the 2021 Fortinet Rugby Championship and Freedom Cup in Townsville on Saturday.
Clearance for All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett after his red card against Australia had allowed attention to return to preparing for the next Fortinet Rugby Championship challenge against Argentina on the Gold Coast on Sunday.
Strong unrelenting defence, brilliant play on the flank by Akira Ioane, and an ability to remain on song in the face of controversy, the All Blacks achieved their Bledisloe Cup clean sweep with a 38–21 win while completing a bonus point Fortinet Rugby Championship win over Australia in Perth.