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Steady recovery encourages Coles

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/07/2016

This time five days ago, Hurricanes captain Dane Coles thought he might be having a heart attack.

The All Blacks hooker was left clutching his chest, grimacing in pain and barely able to walk after a scrum early in the second half of the Hurricanes' Super Rugby quarter-final 41-0 win over the Sharks in Wellington.

The rib cartilage injury has left him a doubtful starter for Saturday's semi-final against the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium, although Coles himself is cautiously optimistic he'll be a starter.

"I've never had pain like that in my life - I thought I was going to have a heart attack," he said on Thursday.

"I knew it was something in the ribs - it happened at scrum time. I couldn't breathe, and it just hurt to walk."

Breathing came easier on Sunday, and Coles has improved slowly but steadily since.

He managed some high intensity running on Thursday, and is scheduled to include some contact work in Friday's captain's run.

"I'm just taking it day by day - I did a bit of running today with the team and got through some stuff that I needed to.

"I'll amp it up tomorrow at the captain's run and see how I am in the warm-up. Things are looking promising - it's a lot better than it was on Saturday."

After missing the first three games of the Super Rugby season with a calf injury, Coles has started the last 12 and played right through five times.

But the Hurricanes skipper isn't about to put the team's chances of making a second consecutive final at risk, and has faith in back-up hookers Ricky Riccitelli and Leni Apisai to do the job if he can't.

"I want to do what's best for the team ... I don't want to go out and be a 50 per cent Dane Coles, because that's no good to anybody."

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd is happy to give Coles all the time he needs.

"He's improved every day, and he's coming along nicely but we'll have to wait until Saturday to see - 7.34pm and a half, if we need to."

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