NZ Sevens rookie shows glimpse of his potential

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2014
Akira Ioane
Getty Images
BLOCKBUSTER: Akira Ioane showed his promise by bumping off three French defenders to score in New Zealand's final pool match.

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Akira Ioane saved his best for last, but don't be surprised if there's more to come.

Some of the day one crowd at Westpac Stadium may have been wondering what all the hype was about as the clock ticked down on New Zealand's final match of the day against France.

They were under no illusions after the big Auckland teenager fended and threw off three French defenders like they were bothersome road-bumps and dotted down for his first try in a New Zealand sevens jersey.

"I didn't expect the crowd to be quite so amped up all the time, but other than that it was a pretty good day," the 18-year-old said after New Zealand's 47-0 win over France. "I did my jobs I had to do on the field and just helped the team out. I wouldn't say it didn't run my way, but I wasn't working enough off the ball... to finish off with a try was pretty cool."

Ioane has a relaxed nature to the point he seems almost understated and he clearly didn't suffer from any nerves in his international debut.

"I actually found the crowd quite enjoyable. Sometimes you need to take your mind off the game just for a second and then switch back on," he said.

"I took it as it came. I don't want to let the occasion get the better of me and just impress Titch [coach Gordon Tietjens] and hopefully get the call for Hong Kong and Japan. If not it's been a good run so far."

Tietjens hinted Ioane would see more game time today, but noted the performances of his other impact players had also been impressive.

"If you are going to win these tournaments you need those guys and it's great to see Ambrose Curtis, George Tilsley, and Akira Ioane with what he did at the end.

"He has some wonderful talents and I'd like to see him on the field a bit more tomorrow."

Curtis and Tilsley both added plenty of energy and pace off the bench and both showed their speed with long range tries.

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