Digby Ioane has added some extra tattoos since Scott Robertson last saw him in Super Rugby, but the Crusaders coach says he hasn’t lost any of his finishing quality.
Robertson said the X-Factor Ioane brings, on and off the field, was the attraction for the Canterbury side when looking for a Nemani Nadolo replacement.
“The big thing for us, is we wanted something different, we wanted a finisher,” he said.
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“Obviously Nadolo was heading over to France and we wanted something with a point of difference, he’s got that.
“He’s exciting – we’re talking about him, he’s a bit of a cult hero.
“I’ve got a couple of things I can pip him up on and making sure he’s a little bit better but we just want him to score tries.”
Ioane hasn’t played Super Rugby since 2013 but Robertson said two seasons in Japan had actually put the winger in good stead for a competition return at 30.
“We did a good medical on him, but he’s come from Japan where you can actually get the body in better nick,” he said.
“He’s a quiet achiever but he’s starting to come out of his shell.
“He’s certainly got a bit of body paint on him since last time I saw him but he’s a great addition.”
Ioane will be lining up against his former Reds teammates at Suncorp Stadium in the Brisbane Tens on Saturday and his new Crusader colleague Israel Dagg admitted even they found that concept strange.
“He’s going to be looking forward to playing the Reds (on Saturday) and it’s going to be weird seeing him in the Crusaders colours but we’re excited, we’re happy,” he said
Dagg said the side was drawing plenty from Ioane’s global rugby experience.
“You’d be silly not to talk to him about his experience,” he said.
“Hopefully I’ll be playing with him for the whole season and I’ll just give him the ball and hopefully he can just create and do his magic.”
The Crusaders take on the Reds, Blues and Samoa in their Brisbane Tens pool.