Wellington - New Zealand hooker Dane Coles has given his coaches a boost by declaring that he is "close to being 100 percent" fit for international action.
Coles, who wasn't originally named in the matchday squad for their opening Rugby Championship clash with Australia, played 78 minutes in Sydney after being a late call-up to the bench for the injured Nathan Harris and then after Codie Taylor left the action early in the game.
He went on to score a try in the clash as the All Blacks ran out 42-8 victors to start the tournament in impressive form over the weekend.
A win this Saturday would secure the Bledisloe Cup for another year and with Harris ruled out and Taylor a doubt, Coles' fitness is vital.
"I'm close to being 100 percent to be honest," he told the All Blacks website, with both Liam Coltman and James Parsons called up on Monday.
"There had been moments during the game when the ribs were a little sore and it had been good to get through the game and be out in the action again.
He added: "I didn't think I'd play but that's footy. These things happen and unfortunately I had to go on two minutes into the match.
"It's been blown out of proportion. There's been a lot of media stuff about it – I wish there wasn't – but that's just the way it is. A lot of rugby players play with injuries and stuff like that, I'm just doing my job."