Rugby: Coles returns for Hurricanes

Dane Coles will make his return from an ankle injury for the Hurricanes when they host the Southern Kings at Westpac Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The four-test All Black injured his ankle in the Hurricanes' 29-28 win over the Crusaders at the Cake Tin on March 8 but has recovered well and will be joined in the starting XV by Andre Taylor who has been recalled to start at fullback.

Taylor played from the reserves against the Highlanders two weeks ago following a mixed start to the season but the electric custodian will be given another chance to prove his wares as the two-win-two-loss Hurricanes return to action after having the bye last week.

They will meet a Kings side who have only won one from four and were beaten 55-20 by the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend.

Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith has been bracketed with Alapati Leiua as he manages a heel niggle, while TJ Perenara could be a late scratching due to a calf strain.

Both Smith and Perenara will be monitored at training today (thur) and a decision will be made on their fitness after.

If Perenara was to be ruled out, veteran Chris Smylie would start in the No 9 jumper with Tongan international Samisoni Fisilau coming on to the bench.

A Smith withdrawal would mean Leiua moves to centre and youngster Matt Proctor would come on to the wing to make his debut, while Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett would have to pick a new skipper with Victor Vito or Jeremy Thrush shaping as the likely contenders.

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua/Matt Proctor, Conrad Smith (c)/Alapati Leiua, Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara /Chris Smylie; Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Brad Shields, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Reggie Goodes, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie/Samisoni Fisilau, Tusi Pisi, Reynold Lee-Lo.

- APNZ

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