Ioane the Crusaders' 'quiet assassin'

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It took Digby Ioane just one opportunity to show the Australian rugby community that he still has what it takes at the top level.

Ioane played for the Crusaders for the first time on Saturday at the Brisbane Tens and slipped through four Reds defenders to score with his first touch of the match.

His exploits evoked many a Suncorp Stadium highlight for Reds fans, who haven’t seen him in the flesh in four seasons.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson dubbed him the ‘quiet assassin’ after his standout start against Queensland, having sat out their first game against Samoa.

“It was perfect for him. He's a quiet assassin, actually,” he said.

“He's starting to get to know the boys, hasn't danced yet.

“I think the way he played and the explosiveness, I think people realise he has still got it, but he's still feeling his way in Christchurch and so far, so good.”

Reds captain James Slipper was one of the least surprised at Ioane’s highlights reel addition.

“He's a class player, it's actually really good to see him back in Super Rugby. - James Slipper

“He's done that plenty of times at Suncorp Stadium so it’s nothing new to him”

The Crusaders looked among the best of the teams on the opening day and dominated the Reds in the second shutout of the afternoon.

Digby Ioane left Australia at the end of 2013. Photo Getty ImagesQueensland will host the Christchurch side in round three of Super Rugby and Robertson said they would need to brace themselves for a tougher challenge when that rolled around.

“It's dangerous to compare that game there to what you get in XVs,” he said.

“They've got a lot of Wallabies to come back and we've got 11 All Blacks to come back.

“It's a different game. Giving them a wee touch up now might not do us a favour in round three, they'll probably be hurting from it.

“We're really mindful they've got some inexperience and I'm sure they'll play with more passion than they did just then.”

The Crusaders take on the Blues in their final pool match on Sunday.

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