INJURY CLOUD: Dane Coles of the Hurricanes leaves the field.
INJURY CLOUD: Dane Coles of the Hurricanes leaves the field. ROSS SETFORD

Hurricanes give skipper Coles time to be fit for final

RUGBY: Hurricanes captain Dane Coles is still not certain to play in tomorrow's Super Rugby final against the Lions at a sold-out Westpac Stadium.

If Coles is fit he would be the only potential change to the team that started the semi-final win over the Chiefs at the same venue last weekend.

Ricky Riccitelli, who started at hooker against the Chiefs, again has been bracketed with his skipper for the final, while there are two late calls to be made in the reserves.

Openside Callum Gibbins, who missed the semi-final with an Achilles injury, and prop Reggie Goodes, who continues to work through concussion protocols, are trying to make the bench.

If they fail, their replacements would be Tony Lamborn and Mike Kainga.

Coach Chris Boyd said the situation with Coles was similar to last week.

"Colesy has made good progress each day and clearly he's very keen to play in the final,” Boyd said.

"He will do everything he can to be fit for kick-off, and if he doesn't make it then we have every confidence Ricky will step up and do a good job if required.

"It's a similar situation on the bench where we're very fortunate to have some quality depth should Callum or Reggie not be able to prove their fitness in time.

"We will give them all as much time as they need before making the final call.”

The final promises to be a special occasion with both teams coming into the match after convincing semi-final wins.

The Hurricanes scored three tries in beating the Chiefs 25-9 in Wellington, while the Lions beat last year's champions the Highlanders 42-30 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Both clubs are searching for their first title.

The Hurricanes are appearing in their third final, a decade after their ill-fated first attempt in the Christchurch fog of 2006, and their second consecutive one at home.

The Lions are playing in their first final and are seeking to become the first South African winners since the Bulls claimed the last of their three titles in 2010.

APNZ


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