Dane Coles makes his much-anticipated return to the All Blacks in Japan. To celebrate, we scan his life and career.

1) Coles and Sarah Smith were married in late 2015. Coles left the All Black camp before a 2014 test against Argentina, flying home for the birth of the couple's son Jax. Coles was given a haka by his team mates before leaving the Buenos Aires hotel. Jax now has a brother called Reef.

2) Coles concussion problems were so debilitating last year that he discussed retirement form rugby with Sarah...Coles couldn't even support his Hurricanes mates because he was unable to handle noisy environments. "I got into a bit of a dark place," he said.

3) He captained the Hurricanes to their first Super Rugby title in 2016. "There were a lot of Hurricanes before us who tried to do it but just couldn't get across the line. It was a monkey off our backs."

Coles scores his brilliant 2015 try against Australia at Eden Park -
Coles scores his brilliant 2015 try against Australia at Eden Park - "Honestly, my legs started to buckle a bit". Photo / Greg Bowker


The brilliant Coles helped redefine what tight forwards are expected to do and some of his tries have been truly spectacular. He said training techniques were designed appropriately.

"We do a lot of work with our backs, putting ourselves in those situations, especially the tight five working with the backs trying to beat us and using their footwork," he told



5) From the Kapiti Coast, Coles was named Wellingtonian of the Year in 2016. Basketball superstar Steven Adams is another to have won the award.

Loves to give this man a spin - John Farnham. Photo / Andrew Labett
Loves to give this man a spin - John Farnham. Photo / Andrew Labett


Coles adores music - John Farnham is his favourite act but he told the


Irish Times

he'd also love to be Slash from Guns 'n Roses. He has a vinyl record collection.

7) He has listed Ellis Park in Johannesburg as probably the best ground to play a test at, with "60,000 people looking down" on the game.
"There's only one road leading into Ellis Park," he said, recalling a hostile reception there.
"Everyone over there is very passionate and I remember as we drove up, they were throwing beers at our bus, giving us the fingers and abusing us."

8)There is a lot of mystery around the concussion symptoms which have helped keep Coles off the field. Former Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said last year: "We've had a look at the last game he played. There's no obvious point in time, he had no symptoms post that, so I'm not sure. We genuinely don't know where he got those symptoms from."

9) The last of his 56 tests was against France in November, when he ruptured knee ligaments leading to two operations. He scored an early try in the Paris test, his 10th for the All Blacks, before wrecking the knee minutes later.

10) Flashes of anger were an issue early in his career. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen described Coles as "dumb" after he was yellow carded for a retaliatory booting of opposite Dylan Hartley during the 2015 test at Twickenham. There were claims that astute opponents regularly baited the hot-headed hooker.

11) Coles was inadvertently involved in one of the most bizarre incidents in All Blacks history. Manager Darren Shand incorrectly listed Keven Mealamu in the reserves against the Springboks at Ellis Park in 2013, but it was Coles who took the field to replace Andrew Hore. Hansen made light of it saying: "Keven was never playing. Coles got introduced as Keven and he doesn't look anything like him."

12) Coles is regarded as fairly noisy on and off the field.
All Black team mate and heavyweight boxer Sonny Bill Williams said Coles even talks up his pugilistic skills."I sit next to him on the bus, and he's already talking so much," SBW said. "He's telling me the fight plan, he really rates himself as a boxer."
On his return this year, Hansen said: "Mentally, he's good, he's starting to get back to his annoying self - which is great".

13) He was elevated to the 10-man All Blacks leadership group in 2016, following the mass retirement of legendary players after the 2015 World Cup triumph. Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane, and Sam Whitelock were the other new leaders that year.