ABs duties rule Ioane out of shield defence

Josh Ioane
Josh Ioane
Otago was not prepared to gamble on getting Josh Ioane back for tomorrow's Ranfurly Shield defence against Taranaki.

The first five-eighth has been whistled into the All Blacks squad this week as cover for the injured Richie Mo'unga and has been named on the bench for the national side.

He may get on at some stage in the test against Tonga in Hamilton this afternoon.

Otago coach Ben Herring said it would have been difficult to get Ioane back for tomorrow and he was committed to the All Blacks. There were issues around flights and the side was not prepared to take the gamble on picking Ioane and relying on him getting back in time.

There was every likelihood Ioane would get some playing time today, and also make his All Black debut, so he was committed to the All Blacks.

Herring said although Otago would miss him, it would be great to see another Otago player make an appearance for the All Blacks. Whatever happened in the rest of the season, Otago wanted to produce as many All Blacks as possible.

Adam Thomson
Adam Thomson
Vilimoni Koroi, who scored three tries last week, will start in the first five-eighth position for Otago.

Ioane (24) was set to make his debut for the All Blacks earlier this season but was left on the bench for the test against Argentina. He has not been selected for the World Cup squad but appears to be the next cab off the ranks should either Beauden Barret or Mo'unga go down.

Meanwhile, Adam Thomson is going to stay with the Otago side for the rest of the season. Thomson (37) was drafted into the side at the start of the season to add experience to the team and also cover for some injuries. He signed for an initial six weeks but will now stay until the end of the season.

Thomson started the past two games and is again included on the blindside flank for tomorrow's game.

Japanese utility back Harumichi Tatekawa is on a short contract and will end his association with Otago after the game against Wellington next week. He has media commitments back in Japan and is also on standby for the Japanese World Cup side. He has come off the bench in Otago's last two games.


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