World Rugby Top 5 Players Series: Hookers - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

World Rugby Top 5 Players Series: Hookers

5. Dane Coles – New Zealand and Hurricanes

The sands of timing are ticking down for the man who revolutionised what it meant to be a world class hooker, in the modern rugby landscape. As we touched upon in the introduction, the 36-year-old is set to hang up his boots following the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and bring an end to a decorated 17 year career. However, despite having played his 141st and final match for his beloved Hurricanes, Coles is set for one last ride with the All Blacks before he walks off into the sunset.

Coles would love nothing more than to end his last match in the famous black jersey, in a style akin to the likes of Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Ma’a Nonu with a World Cup win. Glory is on the horizon for Coles, as he aims to finish his career a two-time winner after the highs of the 2015 tournament on New Zealand’s home soil. Despite being just a few matches away from retirement, the Wellington legend is still regarded amongst the top five hookers in the world.

In the same way that Coles took over the front-row reigns from Kevin Mealamu after the famous 2015 swansong, there are exciting All Blacks talents waiting in the wings for when Coles retires. Codie Taylor has long been the understudy to Coles, and in recent years has surpassed the veteran to achieve multiple test match starts. Samisoni Taukei’aho is another front running forward, who is ready to step up and compete in Coles’ absence. However, before the power struggle begins, Coles and his All Blacks teammates head to France, with the nation’s eyes set on a record setting fourth Rugby World Cup title.