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Ioane receives blunt assessment


'It's not enough' - All Blacks legend gives Akira Ioane blunt assessment

Legendary All Blacks loose forward Wayne Shelford has set the bar for talented Blues number eight Akira Ioane.

Ioane has featured at All Blacks camps in the past but was left out of the mammoth 51-man squad that toured Japan in November.

“I agree with what the selectors say, his work-rate isn’t high enough at the moment,” Shelford told Stuff.

“He’s got to be more of a workhorse than a showpony. He tends to hang off a lot and not do a lot of work.”

In response to his omission from the All Blacks squad, Ioane delivered a pair of excellent performances for Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup as the province claimed the Premiership title.

“Akira is a good No 8,” Shelford said. “He has some really good games and then he has some games where he falls off and doesn’t have a good game.

“He’s a very good runner, he’s very powerful around his hips and can break tackles. It’s just that we see his good things quite often in the game but it’s not enough.”

Shelford pointed out defence as an area to target for Ioane.

“I’d like to see him turning over the ball three or four times a game,” Shelford said. “He’s that type of guy that could do it, he’s very much like Ardie [Savea] and very powerful over the ball.”

“If the loosies actually turned around and said, ‘Let’s get three turnovers a game,’ that’s nine turnovers, that’s huge.

“He fights that fight on the ground when he is in the area but when he’s not in the area that’s a good player who is not actually involved in the game.

“You’re losing a real powerhouse.”

Shelford then compared Ioane to a pair of former All Black loose forwards, including the late Jerry Collins, as he pointed out the pair went through growing pains of their own before being moulded into great players.

“It’s a bit like watching Jerry Collins and Rodney So’oialo play,” Shelford said. “They spent two years on those guys teaching them how to play rugby.”

“They used to ‘T-bone’ all the time and couldn’t pass the ball. They were quite selfish in the way they played but come the end of their careers they were playing bloody good football.”

Collins and So’oialo played a combined 110 tests for the All Blacks by the end of their respective careers.

Shelford – affectionately known as Buck – made 22 appearances for the All Blacks and in his prime was considered by many as the most dominant number eight in rugby.

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'It's not enough' - All Blacks legend gives Akira Ioane blunt assessment
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