Smith fit, Coles still sidelined
Cape Town - Fullback
Ben Smith is fit to return to action for the Highlanders, but Hurricanes
hooker Dane Coles will spend two more weeks on the sidelines.
That was the word from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on two of his
star players, who have missed a large chunk of the season due to
Smith was declared fit to return to action for the Highlanders after
his concussion symptoms were re-diagnosed as an inner ear problem.
But Coles, who has been sidelined for more than four months, will
miss the Hurricanes' final league fixture as well as their quarter-final
clash and is only due to return if the Super Rugby champions reach the
"I don't think he'll make their quarter-final but if they make the
semi-finals I think he'll be right from a conditioning point of view,"
Hansen told Stuff.
"He had so much time off. It's totally different from having that
time off at the end of the year because you are still active. He had a
whole period - three or four months - where he didn't do anything so
we've got to graduate him back into training and full contact.
"They've just got to be sensible about that. Mentally he's a tough kid and he'd play tomorrow."
The All Blacks and Hurricanes are in agreement regarding the best way for Coles to return.
"Between the two operations there's a good plan in place," added Hansen.