Playing for the Māori All Blacks won’t be the first time Akira and Rieko Ioane have represented NZ in sport, but it will be the first time they’ve done it together.
Rieko (18) made his debut on the world Sevens scene earlier this year, a year after his older brother did the same.
“Missed out on playing [secondary] schools with him, being a year too young, and Sevens as well, just missed out by that year, so yeah, this will be the first time so looking forward to it.”
They both play for the Ponsonby Rugby Club in Auckland and have become the club’s 20th and 21st Māori All Blacks.
“Yeah, we're here [at the club] every weekend, you know, [to] support the boys, even if we’re not playing,” says 20-year-old Akira, who also plays for the Auckland Blues Super Rugby franchise.
“There’s those odd occasions when you can play and it’s cool to just chill with the brothers again.”
Rieko will join his brother at the Blues next year, once again making it a family affair.
In the meantime, the brothers are in camp with the Māori All Blacks today before the team flies out to Fiji on Wednesday.