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Ioane a new man after All Blacks adventure

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/11/2016 Angelo Risso

Rieko Ioane of the New Zealand All Blacks is tackled by Noa Nakaitaci of France at Stade de France on November 26, 2016 in Paris, France. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Rieko Ioane of the New Zealand All Blacks is tackled by Noa Nakaitaci of France at Stade de France on November 26, 2016 in Paris, France. All Blacks young gun Rieko Ioane's month on tour with the Test side has made him a new man, according to coach Steve Hansen.

Ioane, 19, made two appearances in his side's four northern hemisphere Tests, including Saturday's clinical 24-19 victory over France in Paris.

The Blues ace was brought into the fray early in the second half after second-five Ryan Crotty was injured, and went on to make eight runs and two tackles.

With fellow prodigy Anton Lienert-Brown alongside Ioane for the second half, the side's average midfield age was just 20.

Hansen told reporters he didn't intend to give Ioane so much game time at Stade de France, but he had looked comfortable and composed in the face of intense French pressure.

His appearance caps a remarkable 2016, having played in the Olympic Sevens side, ran riot in the provincial championship and earned his Test debut in Rome.

"The young man we got when we first arrived in Auckland to start this tour is a totally different young man now, he's grown up a lot," Hansen said.

"There's still a lot of work for him to do but he's really got a taste of what it's like to be an All Black."

Ioane, for his part, said the match was the most physical he'd ever contested.

He'd tried his best to learn from the senior Test players on tour and imitate their professionalism, adapting to whatever Hansen requested of them.

"You've got the best players in the world in every single position so that's bound to be positive and the centres and wings have definitely helped me grow my knowledge," Ioane said.

"Hopefully I'll take that into a good Super Rugby season."

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