Leaving home for weeks on end can be challenging for many, but All Blacks hooker Dane Coles is happy to take the task head on.

Coles is part of the 35-man All Blacks squad for 2020 that will contest two Bledisloe Cup tests in New Zealand on October 11 and 18, before heading to Australia for the revised Rugby Championship. Both games here will be afternoon kick offs, honing back to the older, simpler days of professional rugby.

Dates for the four-team tournament, which will feature 12 matches spread across 10 weeks are yet to be finalised. But it is believed All Blacks players could spend as many as 10 weeks across the ditch, and even spend Christmas Day in quarantine due to New Zealand's two-week isolation rules.

Coles expects every player to view the demanding situation differently, but he is upbeat about the trip.


"Sign me up, I've got three kids. I'll be on that plane out of here," Coles says with a light-hearted snigger.

But switching on the honesty dial, he does not perceive the situation as overly daunting.

"It's just making sure you've got good support. Richie [Mo'unga] summed it up yesterday – it's our job, we've got to go over there, we're playing for the black jersey and sometimes it takes a bit of sacrifice.

"It's a little bit longer, but if we've got to do it we got to do it, and I'm definitely putting my hand up to go over there and play for the All Blacks."

It may be a trip stretching over two months, but All Blacks hooker Dane Coles is to make the trip across the ditch and don the black jersey. Photo / Photosport
It may be a trip stretching over two months, but All Blacks hooker Dane Coles is to make the trip across the ditch and don the black jersey. Photo / Photosport

Reports surfaced that a group of key players, which included Richie Mo'unga, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara told New Zealand Rugby they do not want to be away from their families for so long. All three either have new-born children, or are expecting.

Mo'unga later refuted those claims with passion, calling them laughable and reaffirming his desire to play test footy. The Crusaders first-five admitted it would be hard to leave his wife and daughter behind, but he did not express an overwhelming desire to remain.

The separation from family and emotional ramifications creates a predicament Coles fully understands. He says the players at hand need to make the best decision for themselves.

"All the boys are fully supportive of those lads and the decision they make… as a mate they've got my support," he adds.


Coles is confident New Zealand Rugby will do all they can to ensure families back home are looked after. He admits whether players will be able to spend Christmas Day with their loved ones was also "niggly".

"You didn't really know what to believe," he says. "As long as we're home before Christmas that would be awesome, then you can have a good break over summer.

"They probably haven't ironed out all the plans, but I know New Zealand Rugby will want the boys back before Christmas and they'll do everything they can to sort it out."

All Blacks first-five Richie Mo'unga. Photo / Photosport
All Blacks first-five Richie Mo'unga. Photo / Photosport

Rumoured revolts aside, the All Blacks finally have dates to circle on their calendars for 2020, which makes Coles a happy man.

"It's good, obviously a lot of fake news out there so you don't know what to believe. It's awesome that there's pencilled in games and gives us a bit of clarity."

The last time the All Blacks and Wallabies played in an afternoon game in New Zealand was 2001, a contest that also marked the last time the Aussies tasted victory on Kiwi soil. Since they've been unsuccessful in 23 consecutive.


"I do remember that, might've been at the game. Really good memories of that game," Coles says. "It brings it back to grassroots with Sunday footy and kids going to the game."

"Hopefully we're at level 1. It's Sunday arvo I think regardless of the weather in Wellington, you'll get a pretty sold out crowds. Very exciting that we get the chance to play some international footy.