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Coles suffering from head knock too: Boyd

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles has two injuries to overcome to be fit to face the British and Irish Lions.

And one of them is a genuine head-scratcher.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd revealed Coles is battling concussion symptoms which first came to light a month ago, about the same time he suffered a calf tear.

The problem is, nobody knows what has caused the headaches.

"Colesy's situation is complicated," Boyd said.

"We genuinely don't know where he got those symptoms from."

Captain Coles hasn't played since suffering a knee injury in the fourth round match against the Highlanders on March 18.

He didn't train for two weeks and, upon return to running, suffered the calf tear as well as reporting headaches.

The 30-year-old couldn't remember sustaining a blow and Boyd said repeated viewings of the Highlanders clash revealed nothing untoward.

However, footage of the match shows Coles holding his head after falling awkwardly when he leaped over a team-mate near halftime.

Major uncertainty now surrounds Coles' return date, with the Hurricanes still scheduled to play six more games before the All Blacks' still-to-be-confirmed Test against Samoa in Auckland on June 16 - eight days out from the first Lions Test.

The world class hooker joins two other first-choice New Zealand forwards on a worrying injury list.

Captain Kieran Read (thumb) and flanker Jerome Kaino (knee) have both undergone surgery and are hopeful of returning to fitness in early-to-mid June.

Meanwhile, Canes' ongoing absence means halfback TJ Perenara remains captain for the Hurricanes' Super Rugby home match against the Stormers on Friday.

Perenara was on the bench in their last game two weeks ago, the 56-21 defeat of the Brumbies in Napier. He undergoes a straight swap with Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.

The other starting change to the team who notched a fifth-straight win is in the loose forwards where Callum Gibbins comes onto the openside flank and Ardie Savea moves to No.8 in place of Blade Thomson, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

It is a timely switch for Savea, who is among a clutch of contenders to to fill a Test loose forward vacancy if Read or Kaino don't recover.

Savea has been one of the standout performers in the defending champions' 7-1 start to the season.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Cory Jane, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (capt), Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Vaea Fifita, Mark Abbott, Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, James Blackwell, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Ben Lam.

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