NZ Rugby World
How to Replace the Magic of Barrett
Beauden Barrett’s break means Leon MacDonald is again entering a season without a clear front-runner as his No10.
As mentioned, Black will be in the mix – he did a good job of it last year – with Perofeta and Plummer options, along with newcomer Sullivan.
Compare that situation with that of the Crusaders, though. The Red and Blacks have known Richie Mo’unga would be their first-choice No 10 since 2016 when they began their latest winning spree.
It’s nice to have options, but better to have obvious choices. No 10 has been a problem area at the Blues since Carlos Spencer left way back in 2005. Once piece of good news is that Ioane no longer fits into this category of problem child.
Ioane, determined to play in the midfield, still looks a little unsure defensively there at the very top level but now looks comfortable at centre at Super Rugby level and is a huge offensive threat.
A feature of last year’s Blues’ attack was Ioane breaking up the middle of the park with his pace and power and his distribution game has improved significantly too.
That is testament perhaps to his own hard work and also assistance from Tana Umaga, who started his own career on the wing before making his way to centre.