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Lienert-Brown relishes Ioane Super clash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/03/2017
Anton Lienert-Brown. © Getty Images Anton Lienert-Brown.

Anton Lienert-Brown is embracing the chance to go head to head with great friend Rieko Ioane when the Chiefs battle the Blues in Hamilton on Friday night.

Both players made their international debuts last year and are already being touted as a future All Blacks midfield combination.

"I spent a bit of time with him in the All Blacks and he's an amazing athlete. I wish I had his size and power," Lienert-Brown said.

"It's going to be a challenge marking him this week but those are the challenges you look forward to most. He's a good mate of mine but out there we will be giving plenty to each other."

Skilful Waikato 21-year-old Lienert-Brown was a surprise call-up following injuries to other midfielders but by year's end he had racked up nine caps, starting the last three Tests of the year in Europe.

He knows he must continue to produce the goods to remain in the national side.

"Last year was a bit of a surprise as everything happened really quickly and it took a little while to kick in," he said.

"It was a dream come true and it probably came quicker than expected and words can't describe how amazing it was.

"There are no guarantees and I'm going to have to perform with so many other midfielders putting their hands up but it starts with me playing well for the Chiefs."

The departures of Sonny Bill Williams, Andrew Horrell, Seta Tamanivalu and the injury to Charlie Ngatai has also increased his responsibility within the team.

He is ready for the extra responsibility on his shoulders, already evident in last week's opening 24-15 win over the Highlanders.

"I guess it's a bit of a leadership role but we've also got Tim Nanai Williams who has experience there and he's helping me out.

"We're working well as a unit and we're all helping each other out to be the best we can be."

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