Ioane to start? So the rumour goes...

Otago and Highlanders first five-eighth Josh Ioane runs with the ball past Ofa Tuungafasi (left) during an All Blacks training session at San Isidro Club in Buenos Aires yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Otago and Highlanders first five-eighth Josh Ioane runs with the ball past Ofa Tuungafasi (left) during an All Blacks training session at San Isidro Club in Buenos Aires yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Josh Ioane's rapid rise may take another leap tomorrow.

A rumour yesterday suggested the Otago and Highlanders first five-eighth may start for the All Blacks against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning.

Even if not, he is a good chance to be named on the bench when the team is unveiled at 5pm tonight.

Ioane is one of two first five-eighths to travel with the team - the other being Beauden Barrett. Richie Mo'unga has remained in New Zealand with eight other Crusaders who played in the Super Rugby final.

Ioane will make his test debut should he take the field. Either would be an amazing rise for the 24-year-old.

It may mirror his predecessor in the Highlanders first five-eighth jersey.

Lima Sopoaga started on debut in Johannesburg against the Springboks in the 2015 Rugby Championship. He was not selected for the World Cup, but impressed on debut.

However, for Sopoaga, selection came after making his provincial debut in 2010 and Highlanders debut a year later.

Ioane has had just two seasons for Otago and only this year made the Highlanders No10 jersey his own.

Six months ago he was in a three-way battle for that spot, following Sopoaga's departure.

However, he received the first chance and made a case the selectors could not ignore.

Marty Banks and Bryn Gatland also had opportunities. But it was clear Ioane was the man for the job.

He continued the strong form he showed for Otago in last year's Mitre 10 Cup.

An elusive play-making first five-eighth, his goal kicking has been accurate and he is increasingly showing an ability to control a game.

When Damian McKenzie's season was ended with a knee injury, the All Blacks lacked a third first five-eighth option.

Ioane's form landed him that spot - for the first two games of the Rugby Championship, at least.

Add a Comment

 

banners_top_banner.jpg

banners-bottom_banner.jpg