Digby Ioane hasn’t missed a beat as he readies for his Super Rugby comeback with the Crusaders, according to his old Test opponent Israel Dagg.
The former Wallabies winger will make his debut for the Crusaders in the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens at Suncorp Stadium, his old home ground.
“As soon as we arrived, he reminded the boys this is his hood,” All Black Dagg told reporters on Friday.
“He’s got so much experience for the young guys, I’ve played him many times in Test matches so it’s good to be here and good to have him in the team.”
Ioane, 31, joins the Crusaders as a replacement for Nemani Nadolo, who moved to European rugby at the end of last season.
It is his first time back in Super Rugby since leaving the Queensland Reds in 2013 to embark on a career overseas with French club Stade Francais.
He trained for the first time with his new teammates this week, not long after wrapping up his commitments with Japanese Top League outfit Honda Heat.
“He’s an absolute athlete. He turned up, he was fit as anything,” Dagg said.
“He’s got an opportunity to play tomorrow and it’s good to have the king back in Brisbane.
“When you lose someone like Nemani Nadolo, the big man, it’s big shoes to fill.
“But Digby’s come in, he’s brought a lot of experience, he’s fast, he knows how to play the game.
“He’s going to be awesome.
“He’s got a bit of banter, a bit of style. He’s not shy with his tattoos and everything like that. The boys are loving his company.”
The Crusaders have been drawn in the same pool as the Reds but Ioane is not expecting much blowback from his former team.
“It’s funny how things work out,” Ioane told News Corp.
“It’s a completely different Reds team to the one I played for, so it’s not really all that different to playing other teams.”