'He's a world class player' - All Blacks on naming veteran Dane Coles on the bench for England Test

All Blacks veteran hooker Dane Coles has been named on the bench for New Zealand's Test against England in London on Sunday, with selectors saying he brings a wealth of experience to the team.

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No longer sidelined by a knee injury, Coles played his first international in 12 months last week against Japan. Source: 1 NEWS

Coles, 31, made his first return to international rugby in 12-months last Saturday against Japan and had a solid outing, scoring a try in the All Blacks' 69-31 win in Tokyo.

He did enough to cement his spot on the bench, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen saying he brings a wealth of experience to the side.

"The reality is, Dane, he's a leader in our group, he's a world class player when he's right," said Hansen.

"He's coming back and getting some footy time, he's not right back yet but he's well on the way."

Coles made two appearances for Wellington before re-joining the All Blacks, having not played since last November due to a knee injury suffered against France.

"His throwing is world class and we'll need a good thrower for 80 minutes on Saturday [Sunday in New Zealand].

"It's just nice to have that experience back there and coming off the bench."