Any po­ten­tial new All Blacks tourists?

NZ Rugby World - - Mitre 10 Cup Preview -

Ricky Ric­citelli [Taranaki]

Take out the world’s best hooker and the Hur­ri­canes hardly missed a beat in 2017. Close eyes have been kept on Ric­citelli through­out his de­vel­op­ment but the con­tin­ued level of per­for­mance in Coles’ ab­sence con­sol­i­dated any doubts of whether he was up to it.

Mo­bil­ity and ball-car­ry­ing are a cou­ple of pre­req­ui­sites for Steve Hansen’s hook­ers but those fluffy skills aside, Ric­citelli has ticked the li­ne­out box, scrum­maged well, tack­led and moved bod­ies at the break­down.

With Nathan Harris’s track record of ail­ments, Ric­citelli could be a bolter in 2017, if not be­fore the 2019 RWC.

Akira Ioane [Auck­land]

If he doesn’t make his de­but dur­ing the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, the older Ioane will be on the plane to Europe. Close to All Blacks se­lec­tion al­ready, Ioane’s con­fronta­tional on-field na­ture and strength on his feet are stand­out qual­i­ties.

A tackling ma­chine who can beat de­fend­ers, Ioane could find him­self grow­ing into a spe­cial­ist bench op­tion. His ver­sa­til­ity and range of skills are hard to ig­nore.

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