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'He's been real impressive' – Josh Ioane turning heads in All Blacks camp

All Blacks youngster Josh Ioane is hitting all the right notes with his new teammates, earning rave reviews from Ben Smith ahead of the upcoming Rugby Championship.

After a breakthrough season with the Highlanders, 23-year old Ioane was given the nod to replace Damian McKenzie as the All Blacks' third choice first-five for the upcoming Rugby Championship Tests.

What's more, the versatile young playmaker is all but certain to make his All Blacks debut next week, with Richie Mo'unga among the members of the Crusaders' squad staying home after winning the Super Rugby title.

Fronting media in Auckland today, Ben Smith spoke about his impressions of Ioane. 

"He's going really well," Highlanders teammate Ben Smith said.

"He's a quite a quiet sort of guy who just goes about his work. But when he's training, he's learning as much as he can.

"I think he's been real impressive the last couple of weeks, coming into this environment. That's the good thing about this team, you've got to get out there and be you, and that's what Josh has done."

Having played together for the Highlanders this season, Smith has had a closer look than many about Ioane.

He explained what makes him special.

"In Super Rugby you saw him really start to boss other people around, get other people in the right spots to make sure his game is the best it can be.

"He's owning his role, which is making things a lot easier for people around him."

Ioane will almost certainly be involved in the All Blacks' touring party to Argentina named later this week, likely to serve as back up to Beauden Barrett for the opening Test of the Rugby Championship.

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The young first-five was a surprise selection, but has already caught the eye of veteran Ben Smith. Source: 1 NEWS


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