Rugby Championship

Ioane answers All Blacks SOS

2016-08-22 08:20
Rieko Ioane (Getty)

Wellington - Blues wing Rieko Ioane is one of five injury replacements called up by the All Blacks for Saturday's Test with Australia in Wellington.

Ioane, who represented New Zealand at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro recently, joins Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie, Chiefs centre Seta Tamanivalu, Highlanders hooker Liam Coltman and Blues hooker James Parsons as new additions to the world champions squad in place of centres Ryan Crotty (head knock) and George Moala (knee), Waisake Naholo (hamstring) and hookers Codie Taylor (head knock) and Nathan Harris (knee).

Crusaders flank Matt Todd has also been released from the All Blacks squad to rejoin Canterbury for their Mitre 10 Cup campaign.

All Blacks head coach revealed that Ioane has been included in the squad as both a wing and midfield option.

"He had a very good Super season and he's really someone that we see in the future that could have a long career," Hansen told Fairfax Media.

He added there was "a possibility" the 19-year-old could feature in the 23 on Saturday. It would seem a pretty big stage for him to suddenly arrive on, but the coach said Ioane had packed a lot of high-level rugby into his short career sevens and 15-a-side career.

Hansen it is possible that Ioane could be included in the match day squad for Saturday's Test. Although it might appear to be a big step up for a 19-year-old to take, Ioane has played at a high level of the game during his brief Sevens and 15-a-side career.

"But this environment I'm sure will really test him so we'll just have to monitor that and see how he copes with it," added Hansen.

"If we think he's coping well enough with it, then he may get an opportunity. If he's not then he won't."

"What I do know is that the time being spent with us will be worthwhile. We'll get payback for it somewhere, wither in the short term or the long term."

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