Maori ABs 'selection continues Ioane's rise

Josh Ioane
Josh Ioane
Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane has continued his rise with selection in the Maori All Blacks team to tour North and South America next month.

The pivot was picked in the side yesterday on the back of some good form in the Mitre 10 Cup.

He will share the duties at first five-eighth with Manawatu's Otere Black.

Ioane (23) has grown over the past couple of years after being given a chance with the Highlanders. He was playing for Otago B in 2016 after a promising schoolboy career, but was whistled up by Highlanders coach Tony Brown to train with the franchise last year.

He then became the first choice first five-eighth for the Otago side last year, seeing off the challenge of Fletcher Smith.

He has continued to impress for Otago this season and has deservedly won a call-up to the Maori team.

Ioane never used to kick goals, but after being urged by Brown to become a goalkicker he has been working hard on that part of his game, and it has improved.

Maori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan said he has been impressed by Ioane.

''He demonstrates he is at the forefront of all the action, including playing an integral role in Otago's successful Ranfurly Shield challenge,'' McMillan said.

Ioane is of Te Rarawa descent.

Other Highlanders to make the Maori side are: Tyrel Lomax, Ash Dixon, who will captain the side, Jackson Hemopo, Rob Thompson and Tei Walden. Lomax, Hemopo, Matt Proctor, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Bryn Hall will join the Maori side after the All Blacks test against Japan on November 3.

Former Otago loose forward and current Bay of Plenty No 8 Hoani Matenga will make his debut for the Maori side at the age of 31.

The Maori team is playing the United States in Chicago on November 4, Brazil in Sao Paulo on November 11 and Chile in Las Condes on November 18.


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