A determination to end his illustrious career on his own terms prevented Dane Coles from retiring during an injury-ravaged couple of years for the New Zealand hooker.
Coles has undergone two knee operations, been troubled by calf and rib injuries, and left sidelined by concussion.
The Hurricanes captain has not played since rupturing knee ligaments in the All Blacks’ win over France in Paris last November, but is due to feature for Wellington when they start their Mitre 10 Cup campaign next week.
Coles was adamant that injuries would not dictate when his playing days would come to an end.
He told Radio Sport: “I’ve had a pretty frustrating couple of years.
“You have times where you’re like, ‘Is this really worth it?’ or ‘Is this going to come right?'”
He added “I think the drive, especially for me of getting back out there playing for the All Blacks or playing for the Hurricanes, has been a massive motivation.
“Just playing rugby again. I love the game. I didn’t want the injury to determine my outcome I wanted, leaving on my own terms I suppose.”
The 31-year-old was named in the world champions’ Rugby Championship squad this week, but is unlikely to play any part until the latter stages of the tournament.
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