Codie Taylor welcomes Dane Coles' return

Dane Coles (Getty)
Dane Coles (Getty)

Cape Town - Respect that has long marked the relationship and rivalry between All Black hookers Dane Coles and Codie Taylor was evident again in London this week. 

Taylor, the apprentice to his Horowhenua team-mate Coles when first selected for the All Blacks, has stepped up significantly in the absence of Coles due to injury and had claim to the incumbency at hooker ahead of Saturday's Test against England. 

But having seen Coles' return in the All Blacks win over Japan at the weekend he recognised all the signs that suggested his senior was back and feeling good now that the injury concerns were behind him. 

That was especially obvious when he had scored a try when while 'seagulling' on the wing, something all hookers aspired to. 

"You could sense he was ready to get stuck in and I think it was a great stepping stone for him to get that confidence back so he can get back in to some serious Test footy. He did what he always does and performed in the black jersey," Taylor told the All Blacks' official website. 

While Coles had been under his injury cloud he had stepped back a little and allowed Taylor and Nathan Harris to stamp their own mark which had been 'awesome' but seeing him back and his usual bubbly self was good because it meant he felt 100 percent and he was ready to go again. 

It was inspiring the way Coles had battled and come through and it was like he had never left, he said. 

That hadn't lessened Taylor's own competitiveness. Ideally he wanted to be starting, as did any All Black who wanted to represent his country and do it proud. 

"For me I've got my own things I'm trying to work on and really develop and that's what drives me every day to get better because I know you're never the finished product, that's for sure," he said. 

Lock Sam Whitelock said the early arrival of the advance group of 23, and the weekend break, had been beneficial for the side. The players were fresh and their sleep patterns had settled quickly. 

He said after the workload he had this year he was feeling good and being older he was more aware of what he needed to do to get the best out of himself. 

"These last couple of days have been awesome to get over the flight and allowed us to have a pretty normal Monday and Tuesday," explained Whitelock.

They had watched the Japan game together and were delighted with the outcome.

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