Akira Ioane, who was born in Japan, has rugby in his blood with his father Eddie a former Manu Samoa lock, while his mother Sandra played for the Black Ferns and brother Rieko, is a current All Black.
His strong form ensured he played every game for his Super Rugby club with the Blues this year, scoring eight tries. The dynamic loose forward has also been a standout for his provincial side Auckland, during this year’s Mitre 10 Cup season, scoring crucial tries and helping to lead the team through to the finals.
A seasoned campaigner with the Maori All Blacks, Ioane brings a physical and imposing presence to the loose forward trio combination.
As a teenager, Ioane was a stand-out for Auckland Grammar and the New Zealand Secondary Schools team before being snapped up by the All Blacks Sevens in 2014. He ended that sevens season helping the team winning their 12th World Series title and a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He was also a member of the All Blacks Sevens team that competed at the Rio Olympics.
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Instagram handle: @akiraioane_
Rugby ground: Eden Park
Player (and why): Jerome Kaino, because he is an all-round professional
Other sports: Waterpolo, touch and athletics
My best rugby memory was... beating Sacred Heart in 2012
The biggest influence on my rugby was... my mum and dad
If I could meet one person, it would be... Kevin Hart because he looks like a funny guy
I hate it when... People wake me up
I can't live without... my phone
If I wasn't a rugby player I would be... a student