Cape Town - New Zealand have received a boost on the fitness of Dane Coles as he races against time to be fit for the British and Irish Lions series.
The all-action Hurricanes hooker, who has been struggling with concussion over recent months, had been a doubt to play in the first Test.
But All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has been happy with the player's recent progress as they step up their preparation in training.
"People are trending upwards, and we're excited about that," he told Stuff, with New Zealand facing Samoa this Friday.
"All the information we have on the injured group is pretty positive now, and by the end of the week we'll have a good handle on who's ready to go either Friday or next week."
On Coles, Foster added: "He's not participating in any contact work within the team, and is still working with the doc and physio and doing his own thing. Once the medicos have given the all-clear... but they're delighted with his progress."
In a further boost to the All Blacks, flyhalf Aaron Cruden (knee) and Ryan Crotty (ribs) are progressing well in the camp.