New Zealander, 21, Rugby
The All Blacks’ latest star turn
Key partners: Adidas
There are few sporting roles that come with greater pressure than that in which Rieko Ioane finds himself. A star name in a team of star names, expectation is mounting on the 21-year-old ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Doug Howlett, the record try scorer in All Blacks history, has described Ioane as a mixture of Jonah Lomu, Christian Cullen and Tana Umaga. It is some billing to live up to for a man who has not been overlooked for an international fixture since making his debut in 2016. With his Maori and Samoan roots, Ioane is from a family of athletes – his parents, Eddie and Sandra, both played internationally, while brother Akira plays for the Auckland Blues alongside Rieko.
Ioane was voted World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2017, and will be hoping to use next year’s World Cup to further showcase his burgeoning talent. Already an Adidas athlete, a big tournament for the young winger could well push him into the eyes of further sponsors, with the All Blacks surely favourites to retain their World Cup crown. NF