It was great news to hear Josh Ioane’s name read out last night when the first All Black squad of the season was named .
Josh has quickly risen through the ranks over the past few years, and he will become our Club’s 24th All Black when he gets to take the field. It appears likely that he will do so when the All Blacks play their first test of the season against Argentina in Buenos Aires on the 21st July (6am). With Richie Mo’unga not travelling due to the Crusaders being in the final, it is highly likely that Josh will be in the 23 man squad.
A schoolboy talent from King’s College in Auckland, Josh moved down to Dunedin for study in 2014 and joined the Southern Club. He immediately made the Premier side, but despite his obvious potential it took him a year or so to find his feet at the senior level. Once his confidence grew – his speed, vision, passing skills and strong defence started to show out. He was picked in Otago age group teams over these years and by Samoa for their U20 team at the world cup in 2015.
In 2016 and 2017 Josh was showing the skills to take him to Otago provincial level. He was a key player in Southern’s outstanding 2017 team that went on to win the Club Championship, he scored 171 points that season. He also became the first choice 1st five for Otago, and was also selected in the Highlanders squad. He was selected in the NZ Maori All Blacks team for their tour of South America in 2018. along with fellow club mates Tei Walden and Pari Pari Parkinson.
With first choice five-eighth Lima Sopoaga leaving for European rugby at the end of the 2018 season, Josh was elevated into the starting 1st five position for the Highlanders in 2019. His development has progressed at a fast rate out of necessity, but he has taken every step well, and the skills that shone as a first year student for Southern were now for all to see at the Super level.
Unfortunately for the Club the better you get the less you play club rugby, but that is the way it is in the professional game. After featuring 15 times in 2017 for us he only made 4 appearances in 2018, and none this year with his regular position in the Highlanders. He currently sits on 48 premier appearances. However he hasn’t forgotten his roots and he is often seen watching the team when in town, and has made himself available to mentor junior players in the Club earlier in the year.
The Club is very proud of Josh Ioane’s rapid rise at only 23 years of age and we will take great pride in his first appearance for the All Blacks… all things going to plan.