Akira Ioane hungry for black jersey recall

By James Perry

Akira Ioane has three games left before semifinals time to convince selectors to pick him for the Northern Tour.

Ioane has been one of the standouts in Auckland's Mitre 10 Cup season, where the team has suffered only one loss from seven matches.  

He says the coaches have told him what areas of his game to improve on, and he is hoping the All Blacks selectors have been paying attention to his Mitre 10 Cup form.

"It's definitely helped coming down here, just trying to do my job within this team, you know- and that's all I can do."

If he doesn't get picked up by Steve Hansen's group, Ioane has a backup plan. 

"If not, then hopefully be lucky enough to go on the Māori tour."

The Māori All Blacks play the USA in Chicago before embarking on a South American tour to Brazil and Chile.  Ioane has never been to Chile, and been to Brazil once so would be happy to experience those destinations, however would prefer to be with the All Blacks in Europe.

He and his younger brother Rieko recently re-signed with NZ rugby-  a move which will keep them together for at least at the next three years.

"I'm happy, it's where home is.  I don't really want to move away from mum," he laughs.

Having made his All Black debut against the French XV on last year's Northern Tour, Akira wants to get back in the squad, and take the field with his brother.

"It's always been there, it's just I've taken longer to try and crack it and Rieks has gotten his opportunity and he's taken it with both hands.  Hopefully in the near future we get to have a test together."

Auckland play Wellington tomorrow night in Wellington, the first game of their 'storm' week, where they play three games in ten days.