Rieko Ioane says people have read too much into his not being picked for last weekend's Bledisloe Cup decider as he prepares for a welcome return to action in Auckland’s Mitre 10 Cup clash with Bay of Plenty.
The 22-year-old has scored 23 tries in 26 Tests after making his Test debut three years ago.
He denied that George Bridge, who starred in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup triumph, was the first genuine threat he had faced in his career, for the No.11 jersey.
“I’ve always felt that the competition at wing especially has been strong, those outside backs we have in New Zealand, you’ve still got Waisake that wasn’t here, Tevita, any one person could have been there, Bridgey and Sevu (Reece).”
“It makes competition a lot stronger which is good for us and good for the All Blacks especially.”
Ioane said that people were reading too much into the fact he was not selected for the Bledisloe decider and social media played its part.
“Social media takes its toll on the teams I’m involved in, boys get talking, people get talking, I start getting messages from other boys saying ‘what’s going on?’” Ioane explained.
“But I’m happy being me, happy with the way I’m playing, I just need to get a few good touches on the ball, get some good game time and let these legs go.”
“Everything is all good, there’s no big dramatic feeling at home.”
Ioane said he had spoken with the All Blacks coaching staff on how he could get back into the side.
“I’ve spoken with the coaches and what they expect of me and behind closed doors that’s what I’ve got to deal with,” he said.