Return of Ioane, Coltman adds significant quality

Josh Ioane
Josh Ioane
The reinforcements are back and they cannot wait to get going.

Josh Ioane and Liam Coltman will return to add significant quality to the Otago line-up against Hawke's Bay in Napier tonight.

The duo have been with the All Blacks during their World Cup preparations.

They have been released, alongside seven others, to play in the Mitre 10 Cup this week.

Ioane gives the side a genuine first five-eighth, pushing Vilimoni Koroi back to fullback where he is more suited.

Liam Coltman. Photo: Getty Images
Liam Coltman. Photo: Getty Images

Coltman adds strength all over the park and will mark Highlanders team-mate Ash Dixon.

On the other side, Brad Weber returns at halfback for Hawke's Bay.

Ioane returned to the set-up on Monday, while Coltman got back on Tuesday.

Having experienced little game time with the All Blacks, both are ''itching'' to get on the park.

Despite the short timeframe, Otago coach Ben Herring is confident both will slot straight in.

''They're very classy, I think. They're all good.

''Josh has had a couple of weeks with us earlier in the year, so he knows all the stuff.

''Colty's just an absolute pro, so it's pretty quick with him.''

He did not feel they would brought back anything additional from the All Blacks.

However, having the duo back would help the rest of the team do what they did well.

''I wouldn't say they bring back anything.

''What they do have is the mana that people enjoy.

''When you're playing next to guys that are just doing their job outstanding it helps your job be easier.

''They know the way we play, so they just slip straight back in seamlessly, I think.''

The other key changes are in the loose forwards.

James Lentjes moves to openside flanker in place of Slade McDowall, who is being rested after picking up a bang on his elbow.

Adam Thomson comes on to the blindside flank, while Sione Misiloi slots in at No8 and Dylan Nel drops to the bench.

Giorgio Bower replaces Hisa Sasagi at tighthead prop in the other change.

Michael Collins has again been named on the bench as he continues his return from injury.

Herring said the team was being ''sensible'' with reintegrating him and he would probably be injected early in the second half.

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