Dane Coles is relishing being back out on the pitch, after a tumultuous recent run of injuries.
Two games into his return from a calf injury, Coles stole the show for the Hurricanes in their 37-17 victory away to the Lions on Sunday, scoring two tries coming off the bench.
With fellow All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor also coming back from a broken finger, 32-year old Coles' return is timely for both the Hurricanes and the All Blacks, with the race to secure the number two jersey heading into this year's World Cup now in full swing.
Speaking to Stuff after his try scoring heroics away in Johannesburg, Coles said he was slowly but surely getting back to where he wants to be as a player.
"It was pretty tough out there, but in the last couple of weeks I've managed to get my fitness up and getting used to playing again, so I feel really good," Coles said.
"I'm slowly getting there.
"Hopefully I can keep chipping away and get the game fitness back, but yeah, very pleased with the way it went [against the Lions]. I went a little bit better and hopefully I can keep getting minutes under my belt and contributing to the team."
The Hurricanes' win guaranteed them a home quarterfinal, as well as second place in the New Zealand Super Rugby conference, as the side return home to face the Blues in Wellington this weekend.