AKIRA IOANE

NZ Rugby World - - 2017 The Year In Review -

In fair­ness not many peo­ple would think that the older Ioane brother had fallen from any par­tic­u­lar heights and was in any need of ca­reer re­sus­ci­ta­tion.

True, it is a bit of a stretch to say he re­vived his ca­reer in 2017, but what he did was sig­nif­i­cantly ad­just the tra­jec­tory he was on.

He ended 2016 in not such a great place. The All Blacks had told him, not too gen­tly ei­ther, that his at­ti­tude was poor, that his work rate sucked and he was a long way o in­ter­est­ing them.

When this season started, Ioane was a bench reg­u­lar barely play­ing for the Blues and there was a real dan­ger the season would pass him by and he’d end it as the sort of un­ful­filled tal­ent that would shortly shoot o to Europe.

But in­jury to Jerome Kaino al­lowed him into the Blues start­ing team and he was a new player. He worked harder, tack­led more, hit more rucks and sud­denly started look­ing much more like the real deal.

He made the New Zealand Maori team to play the Lions and he was called up by the All Blacks as in­jury cover.

Now he’s on the right path and gets, or at least seems to, that hard work is re­quired to crack the big time.

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