Looking good going forward, says Dane Coles

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 05:00 23/06/2014
All Blacks hooker Dane Coles
CHRIS HILLCOCK/ Fairfax NZ
STORMING RUN: All Blacks hooker Dane Coles races for the corner but his subsequent pass was knocked away by the defence at Waikato Stadium.

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You won't hear any boasting from the All Blacks' pack after the 3-0 sweep of England. 

It is in no small way down to the way they stood up to the big English forward pack.

But you will hear no boasting out of the New Zealand forwards about that.

Instead there will be some quiet satisfaction at a job well done and steady improvements made throughout the series.

In reality they have taken a slight psychological advantage from the series which they will carry into the end-of-year northern tour and into next year's Rugby World Cup unless England can reverse fortunes against them at Twickenham in November.

The All Blacks backs could not have done what they did to produce the point of difference in the series if it had not been for some strong work up front against what is a very strong England pack with the set-piece solid and the ball carrying and support top notch.

Dane Coles almost had a try of his own to boast about with a storming run to the corner off a lineout midway through the first half but neither that nor the All Blacks' overall forward effort was enough to get the 27-year-old hooker talking up their efforts.

''I think every game we've definitely improved but we definitely respected their tight five too,'' Coles said.

''Definitely tonight our set-piece was bloody good, especially in that first half, and our backs scored some good tries, so you do take some satisfaction out of that.

''It's just those little things like working hard and winning top quality ball for the backs was very pleasing.

''We respected their tight five because they're hard workers and they've got a good set-piece but we're very proud that we could match them because if you don't it's a tough day at the office,'' he said.

Hooker is one position that many worry about in terms of lack of depth but Coles is one player who has stepped up impressively to take over from the experience of Keven Mealamu and the retired Andrew Hore.

''I think I'm just enjoying it more [this year]. I learnt a lot last year in high pressure situations and I think this year, getting a chance to start all the games of the series I've just gone out and really enjoyed my footy.

''Comfortable is not really the word. I love it and I'm just enjoying my time in the jersey.''

Coles' lineout throwing was impressive throughout the series and he said the return of Kieran Read from his concussion layoff to play the first 40 minutes of Saturday's third test had helped considerably in that area.

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''He gives us another option and he's a world class leader in that area.

''I can't complain, I'm hitting my targets and I'll just keep working hard during the week.''

As for his blown try on Saturday night, Coles was kicking himself for trying to through an in-pass to Aaron Cruden when the passing lane was cut off by cover English winger Chris Ashton.

''If I had my time again I would have pinned my ears back and gone for the corner,'' Coles said.

- Stuff

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Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

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Charlie Faumuina

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Brodie Retallick

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