'All Blacks finally found their No.6 since Kaino'
SPOTLIGHT: After their shock 15-25 loss to Argentina at the Bankwest Stadium just two weeks ago the All Blacks bounced back with an impressive 38-0 win against the Pumas this Saturday.
It was a slow start that was peppered with some misfires but New Zealand galloped away with it in the second half helped immeasurably by two tries in two minutes by rising star Will Jordan.
Aside from Jordan’s blistering cameo, Akira Ioane put in his best display ever in an All Black jersey. It was his second start after having a shortened debut in Brisbane where he faced the Wallabies three weeks ago.
He was replaced by Shannon Frizell for the first Test against the Pumas, but Frizell was noticeably outplayed by both Marcos Kremer and Pablo Matera.
Ioane not only carried energetically but also clocked up the most running meters of any All Black forward in the game, punching through the Puma defence time and again, completing nine of ten tackles and winning two turnovers.
The Blues loose forward achieved two critical steals in the tackle stopping the Pumas attack dead while they were pressing into All Blacks territory.
His masterful performance certainly didn’t go unnoticed with fans tweeting that his emergence is a “positive for the Foster regime” and describing it as having “finally found their no.6 since Jerome Kaino”.
— Isis Novnak (@IsisNovnak) November 28, 2020
A positive from the Foster regime so far is the emergence of Akira Ioane from relative obscurity #ARGvNZL
— James Rodbourn (@jrodbourn) November 28, 2020
#ARGvNZL Akira Ioane putting in a strong shift at 6. Carrying out core role well & coming up with some positive defense
— Ross Bishop (@roscobigfulla) November 28, 2020
Excellent shift from Akira Ioane tonight – tough, combative, industrious & disciplined 👏🏼 #NZLvARG
— Nigel Yalden 🇳🇿🎙 (@NigelYalden) November 28, 2020
Sam Cane is being manhandled whilst Akira Ioane is showing his physicality and having a great game.
— Mana Rugby (@mana_rugby) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane was immense tonight. What a comeback after a few years in the wilderness. He’s much fitter, improved work rate and playing a little tighter. #NZLvARG
— Lani Refiti (@LaniRefiti) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane is the whole truth and nothin but the truth #NZLvARG
— Champ Ch33ze🟣🟡 (@mexxdidit) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane playing really well again. Mo’Unga looking sharp too #ARGvNZL
— Ben (@BencerasaIe) November 28, 2020
Akira Ioane so far having his best game for NZ of his career #NZLvARG
— 3ku1111 (@3ku1111) November 28, 2020
Top work @AllBlacks
Our No 6, Akira Ioane, epitomised our game
Simple things done well
Dominated the Lineout
Monster in the tackle
Akira could now own that jersey with performances like his last 2 matches@BluesRugbyTeam
— Andy Doherty (@Aranui_Boy) November 28, 2020
After the match embattled All Black head coach Ian Foster singled Ioane out for his efforts saying that it proved that he “wants to be there”.
“Akira should be really proud of his game,” he said.
“It was his second start but his first full game (he played 65 minutes). I thought he showed he really wants to be here.”
Foster remarked that although it had been a difficult year for everyone with a tough succession of test matches, he felt that his side is starting to develop nicely.
“A fortnight ago we’d just played our fifth test in six weeks and it was tough. You saw Argentina play their third test in three weeks and it’s tough. There’s been a lot of challenges for all the teams.”
“for us there will still be a few niggly hurt moments, particularly the loss to Argentina but at least we had a chance to fix it, to show that can play, that this group is developing. We’ve got a bit more to go, we’re clear about that but it’s a better way to finish.”