19 Mar 2015

Coles forced out of Hurricanes lineup

12:03 pm on 19 March 2015

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles has been forced out of the Hurricanes lineup to take on the Highlanders in their Super Rugby clash in Dunedin on Friday night.

Dane Coles in action for the Hurricanes, 2012.

Dane Coles in action for the Hurricanes, 2012. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coles was initially named in the starting XV, but he's still bothered by an arm injury suffered against the Blues last weekend.

Coach Chris Boyd says Coles probably could have played, but decided that as he wasn't a hundred percent, it gave them the opportunity to give him one of his All Black rest weeks.

Meanwhile All Blacks wing Cory Jane returns to the starting line-up pushing an unlucky Matt Proctor out of the match-day squad.

The All Black lock Jeremy Thrush also comes back into the starting XV and will pair with Blade Thomson in the second row.

It's Thomson's first start at lock for 2015.

Prop Ben May occupies a spot in the reserves after returning from a leg injury, and flanker Callum Gibbins also returns to the match-day XXIII on the bench.

There are six current All Blacks in the Hurricanes backline this week, plus impressive Manawatu fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder.

With both teams celebrating successful wins over the past couple of weeks, and having one of the closest derby rivalries in New Zealand, this match is shaping up to be an exciting contest.

The Hurricanes are unbeaten in their first four games and sit second in the overall standings, while the Highlanders are fifth overall.

Each of the franchises' past 12 Super Rugby encounters have been decided by within seven points, while the away team has won six of their last eight clashes.

Hurricanes:

1. Reggie Goodes

2. Motu Matu'u

3. Ben Franks

4. Jeremy Thrush

5. Blade Thomson

6. Brad Shields

7. Ardie Savea

8. Victor Vito

9. TJ Perenara

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Julian Savea

12. Ma'a Nonu

13. Conrad Smith (c)

14. Cory Jane

15. Nehe Milner-Skudder

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