All Black Dane Coles to miss Lions series

Dane Coles (Getty Images)
Dane Coles (Getty Images)

Auckland — All Blacks hooker Dane Coles will miss the whole series against the British and Irish Lions as he continues his struggle to regain match fitness after a concussion.

Coles was named in New Zealand's squad for the Lions series while still suffering symptoms of a concussion which prevented him playing Super Rugby since May. He was previously sidelined in March with a calf injury.

Coles' concussion symptoms were exacerbated by hard physical training which made his recovery from other injujries more difficult. He was not considered for Saturday's first Test at Eden Park where Codie Taylor was named to start at hooker with Nathan Harris on the bench.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Saturday Coles was not now being considered for the Lions test matches, despite being close to full recovery.

"He is clear of most of his symptoms and he is back training," Hansen said.

"But because he is not fit enough to play test rugby or Super Rugby we have put him back into what we call a pre-season training block.

"He will stay with us for the next three weeks then go back to his franchise and be back to play when he's rugby ready and fit enough for the rigors of Super Rugby."

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