Ioane under orders not to play in Otago's Mitre 10 Cup opener

Josh Ioane
Josh Ioane
Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane is fine and could play this weekend - but he will not.

The Highlanders playmaker took a bang playing in Otago's warm-up game against Tasman last Friday night.

He was set to join the All Blacks in Perth this week purely in an observational role for the Bledisloe Cup match, but was scratched from that trip because of the concussion.

Otago coach Ben Herring said Ioane was now fine, but he will not play for Otago this weekend. Otago is set to take on Bay of Plenty in the opening round of the Mitre 10 Cup in Tauranga on Sunday.

Herring said the All Blacks had indicated they did not want Ioane to play this weekend. Otago was not going to have him anyway, so it was not a big issue, Herring said.

Otago will have its first Ranfurly Shield defence in the Mitre 10 Cup against Southland on August 17, where it will again be without Ioane.

Halfback Kurt Hammer was injured in the game against Tasman and was forced off the field. He had suffered nerve damage in his shoulder and it was unclear how long he would be out.

But he is likely to miss this week. South African Rowan Gouws will come into the squad and Herring said he had some spark about him.

Vilimoni Koroi is now the option at first five-eighth for Otago and Herring said he was a talented footballer who had ability around the park. Sio Tomkinson had also played for a period in the position.

Captain Michael Collins was making good progress from a long-term groin injury and there was hope he would be able to play against Southland. He would be a cool head for the likes of Koroi. Other options, such as Logan Allen and Ben Miller, are injured.

After reviewing the game against Tasman it was a real mixed performance, Herring said. A couple of players had let themselves down but others had got stuck in and played well. Tasman was a quality side with plenty of depth. Tasman won 54-19 after leading 28-12 at halftime.

Herring said there was some genuine excitement among the group and it was time to transfer that excitement into performance.


.. because the all blacks say so





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