Ioane surprised by All Blacks call-up

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:08
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REACTION: Blues wing Rieko Ioane was not expecting to make Steve Hansen's All Black squad for the end-of-year tour.

Ioane got a phone call on Sunday when he was still in bed but it didn't take long before he was running around the house. The 19-year-old is part of 36-man that will face Ireland in Chicago and Dublin, Italy in Rome and France in Paris.

"I didn't know if I was in with a shot or not," told allblacks.com.

"I was just trying to play the best footy I could and help Auckland perform the best they could. The results didn't go our way this year [in the National Provincial Championship] but I was just trying my best to play my best to help the team and help myself." 

It has been a long season for Ioane, but he admits he still has a lot of energy to make a valuable contribution to the All Blacks' cause in November.

"It's something I'm looking forward to and the legs are still going and everything is in good nick," he said.

All Black coach Hansen says Ioane has a bright future ahead of him on the rugby field.

"He's a big player and a big man and he can run fast so he's not the finished product yet at 19 but there's plenty there that we can work with and I'm sure we'll see a very, very good rugby player come out at the other end over the next few years."

Hansen added: "He's going to give us another big man on the end of the chain, a la Julian [Savea] or Waisake [Naholo], who are both big men as well. He's come off a year where he's been involved in Super Rugby and done very well, he went to the Sevens and did well there and he played NPC to a really high level scoring a lot of tries so he's an exciting prospect."

@AllBlacks