Digby wings his way to the top

By Jim Morton,

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59 Have your say

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    Wallabies general Will Genia believes there should be no doubt Test and Queensland team-mate Digby Ioane is the most dangerous winger in world rugby.

    But in an ominous warning to Super Rugby and Test rivals, Ioane says there’s plenty of improvement left in his blockbusting game.

    Not content to bask in the glory of a breakthrough 2011, the powerful 21-Test finisher said on Monday he was hungry to also become a smarter player as the Reds defend their Super Rugby title.

    “I’ve got a lot to learn,” Ioane said. “I wouldn’t say I’m the best but I just love playing footy.

    “Last year was the first time I had a full season without injuries.

    “This year is another year and I can’t wait to come back into it.”

    But Genia said post-World Cup assessments that judged Ioane the best winger in the game – ahead of the likes of England’s Chris Ashton and New Zealand’s Cory Jane – were on the money.

    “Definitely, I would have to agree quite easily,” the halfback said.

    “He’s great on his feet, he’s quick, he’s strong in contact and it was just good to see him play a full year of rugby last season.

    “He’s very important for whatever side he plays for. He brings a lot to the game.”

    Ioane and Genia were among a host of Wallabies who returned to pre-season training with the Reds on Monday and the winger wasted no time in making his mark.

    Ioane produced the squad’s best beep test – posting 13.10 to break the marks of Liam Gill and Dom Shipperley.

    While Queensland will miss Quade Cooper (knee) for the first six weeks of the season, Genia was confident they could overcome the loss of the mercurial playmaker with a more orthodox game plan.

    Mike Harris, Jono Lance and Ben Lucas are the main challengers to wear the No.10 jersey as Queensland aims to become the fourth franchise to win back-to-back titles following the Blues (1996-97), Crusaders (1998-2000 and 2005-2006) and Bulls (2009-2010).

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    The Crowd Says (59)

    • January 17th 2012 @ 9:32am
      formeropenside said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      And once again we forget Queensland previously winning back to back titles in 1994-95…you expect better from Morton.

      • January 17th 2012 @ 9:40am
        King of the Gorgonites said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        come on. no one seriously considers that to be the same. it was amateur and had half the teams. in my view, Super Rugby started in 96.

        • January 17th 2012 @ 3:17pm
          formeropenside said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

          So you also ignore the amateur 87, 91 and 95 RWC’s on that reasoning?

          The Super 10 had 2 (count them!) less teams than the Super 12 in 1996 – thats a little more than half the teams. Closer to 83%, actually.

          And the lineups of most of those teams were pretty damn serious. More so than some teams competing today.

        • January 17th 2012 @ 3:43pm
          Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          Thats not just your view – Super Rugby is recognised as being officially Launched in 1996 when sponsorship and TV rights came into play when statisticians and historians lokk at who has won the title the most times or who scored the most tries etc…it begins in 1996 – regardless of how many titles Qld qon in super 10, PAC 10…1996 is recognised as the official start date of the S12 comp. Can’t see that changing

      • January 17th 2012 @ 9:46am
        Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        Get over yourself…in the pro era that means only as far back as 96 – or else where does it stop….

        • January 17th 2012 @ 9:53am
          gusbrisbane said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          Only a non-Queenslander would not include 94 and 95! (said in jest of course).

          I still remember Brett Johnstone scorching Pienaar from the blindside of a scrum in the 95 final after the Transvaal skipper got a thump on the head from the previous play. And Tim Horan, commentating, saying, ‘they won’t catch him’.

          • January 17th 2012 @ 10:17am
            Comrade Bear said | January 17th 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

            Some might say that we are the reigning Super 10 and Super 15 Champions – but not me – that is just silly.

          • January 17th 2012 @ 11:00am
            Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 11:00am | ! Report

            Yep a great era for Queensland rugby with many legends of the game in those teams…
            Are we on the verge of another great era?

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2012 @ 10:19am
        Atawhai Drive said | January 17th 2012 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        FOS, Morton was referring to Super Rugby, the professional tournament that began in 1996.

        I had almost forgotten the amateur Super 10, which ran in 1993, 94 and 95, and which Queensland won in 94 and 95.

        Tonga were in that tournament one year, 1995 from memory. Western Samoa took part in 1994. Otherwise it was contested by provincial teams (no “regional franchises” in those days), including Eastern Province from South Africa.

        The rugby was pretty good, as I recall, although we didn’t see a lot of it on Channel 10, the rugby rights holder at the time.

      • January 19th 2012 @ 8:51am
        Jerry said | January 19th 2012 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        Take it up with SANZAR – “The Reds are the reigning Super Rugby champions. They won the 2011 Final 18-13 against seven-time winners the Crusaders. It was their first Super Rugby title “. The official stance is that Super Rugby began in 1996.


        Whereas the IRB obviously does recognise the 87, 91 and 95 RWC tournaments.

    • January 17th 2012 @ 9:44am
      Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      “He’s great on his feet, he’s quick, he’s strong in contact” thats all well and good, a big part of the modern wing man game is aerial as was shown in the semifinal V NZ – Those NZ wingmen are strong in contact quick on theri feet and very very good aerially

      • January 17th 2012 @ 10:05am
        gusbrisbane said | January 17th 2012 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        I wouldn’t say that Ioane is lacking in the aerial parts of his game.

        Rather, he’s exceptional with the ball in hand.

        Therefore, when you’re on the attack the tactics are to pass the ball to him, not just put it in the air to contest with the opposition wings or fullback.

        • January 17th 2012 @ 10:58am
          Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

          Thats what the Wallabies did in the WC semifinal they boxed kicked for him to contest….aerial play defensively is a key part of a wing mans arsenal in the modern game its a given that most professional wing men are good on their feet and quick, however its the other skills that define who is and isn’t the best…

          Understand your point though just my opinion

          • January 18th 2012 @ 9:45am
            soapit said | January 18th 2012 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            so you use attacking box kicks to demonstrate he doesnt have the necessary defensive aerial skills?

            not to mention that shane williams was best PLAYER in the world (note not just winger) at one stage despite his obvious vertical handicap. aerial skill is nice to have but can be more than compensated for in other areas (ever see big jonah score from a bomb?)

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2012 @ 2:47pm
        B-Rock said | January 17th 2012 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

        Good point Quakezone – Digby is many things but tall is not one of them (5’9” / 177cm), he does struggle somewhat in the air vs some of the better (ang bigger) wings. NZ exploited this beautifully in the RWC SF… Saying that, he more than makes up for it in breaking the line, defense, work rate, etc

    • January 17th 2012 @ 11:12am
      Harry said | January 17th 2012 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      Firstly, on ya FOS and yes good to be the incumbent Super 10 and Super 15 champions!
      Re Ioane, his development into one of the top wingers in the world has been a steady progression. Up until his return from the Force, his handling used to be terrible – we were lucky if he caught 50% of the passes that came his way, useless under a high ball, and passing skills were never in evidence. He’s improved all 3 – catching passes and kicks, passing – immensely in the last 3 years. And all the while maintaining pace and swerve, despite the numerous injuries. A potent combination. He invariably beats the first tackler at least and provides real go forward as well as quality finishing when required.
      Lets hope he stays fit so we can see this complete player’s full range of skills on display throughout 2012.

    • January 17th 2012 @ 2:54pm
      Kane said | January 17th 2012 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

      Digby got 4 tries from 10 tests at 40%, not bad for the “most dangerous winger in world rugby”

      Pitty these guys did better

      Ashton 12/11 109%
      Clerc 9/14 64%
      North 7/14 50%
      Williams 7/12 58%
      Guilford 6/4 150%
      Kahui 5/6 83%

      and thats just to name a few

      • January 17th 2012 @ 3:27pm
        Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

        Thanks Kane thats exactly what wingers are rated on their ability to finish is first and foremost, 4 from 10 is not a good hit rate…it looks like over rating players in this part of the world continues – in 2011 the Wallabies had “The world best 1st 5″ and the Worlds best half back” but what happended in the WC?…. they went missing on the biggest stage

        Diggers is a good internatinal wing, he is outstanding wing in the S15, but best in the world? not so sure about that…

        Some NZ’s part time wingers look pretty good there – Dagg, Jane, Kahui even SBW

        • January 17th 2012 @ 6:36pm
          mattamkII said | January 17th 2012 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

          oh boo hoo mate.

          He’s played a shed load in the centers too.

          And who says wingers are jusdged on tries alone. I’m going out on a limb here but Digby seems to come off the wil and break the line more than most wingers I see these days.

          I’m not sure hes the best in the world either. Too early to tell I reckon. But he’s good and better all round than all on the list provided buy the bitter Kane.

        • January 17th 2012 @ 6:36pm
          mattamkII said | January 17th 2012 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

          oh boo hoo mate.

          He’s played a shed load in the centers too.

          And who says wingers are jusdged on tries alone. I’m going out on a limb here but Digby seems to come off the wil and break the line more than most wingers I see these days.

          I’m not sure hes the best in the world either. Too early to tell I reckon. But he’s good and better all round than all on the list provided buy the bitter Kane.

          • January 17th 2012 @ 6:57pm
            Kane said | January 17th 2012 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

            Well 3 out of 21 tests played in the centers can’t really be classed at a shed load can it? No doubt about it he is good but I don’t think he is the best all round winger in the world. There is one thing that separates him from the rest of the worlds wingers is his terrible passing game.

            • January 17th 2012 @ 9:32pm
              mattamkII said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

              that 14% of his test career. Thats a fair bit if you ask me? can you give me 14% of you wages? thought not.

              dont forget he also slot in at 13 when people get injured or subbed off

              • January 18th 2012 @ 2:52am
                Kane said | January 18th 2012 @ 2:52am | ! Report

                My point is 14% is not a shed load. Yeah if you want to completely ignore the fact that he doesn’t know how to pass and will completely ignore the face that he has a winger outside him.

              • January 19th 2012 @ 8:53am
                Jerry said | January 19th 2012 @ 8:53am | ! Report

                Yeah, a centre that can’t pass is kind of poor.

        • January 17th 2012 @ 6:52pm
          10yearsold said | January 17th 2012 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

          Digby Ioane does provide something different though. He gives the forward pack a break which probably gives the opposition defense a suprise when instead of confronting a big, crach-balling forward, gets a fleet-footed, agile winger that is still as strong when he does reach the contact area.

          So he provides x-factor. You can’t rate a winger for what he is supposed to be good at if he makes a bigger impact on the game, which in the end of the day is what matters most. An saying that, despite the statistics, he still isn’t the worst try-scorer in the world.

          I agree with the rest of the comment though.

      • January 18th 2012 @ 9:58am
        soapit said | January 18th 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        anyone got the stats on average metres gained?

      • January 18th 2012 @ 2:35pm
        rl said | January 18th 2012 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        Those sure are pretty stats… but let’s take Chris Ashton: 4 tries against Italy, 3 tries against Romania and 2 tries against Georgia. Take those out and then he’s got 3 tries in 8 matches, for a strike rate of 37.5%. Whipping out those sort of stats is a bit like saying Matty Hayden’s 380 against Zim makes him better than Bradman.

        What about the other things Diggers brings every time he walks on? Contested metres gained, tackles made (dominant and other), the number of times the opposition has to commit additional defenders freeing up space elsewhere.

        Diggers best in the world? Maybe not, but I’ll keep him thanks.

        • January 18th 2012 @ 2:59pm
          Kane said | January 18th 2012 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          Not sure why you disregard Italy they are a Tier 1 nation?

          • January 18th 2012 @ 5:45pm
            rl said | January 18th 2012 @ 5:45pm | ! Report


    • January 17th 2012 @ 3:42pm
      Johnno said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

      Give me George North or Tuilagi over Digby who by the way i rate highly too, just better wingers around.

      Also add Kahui, Hosea Gear,Jane, and that speedy USA winger lighting fast. Jane’s airal ability is so superior too Digby’s as well.
      Rougarie who is a winger most of the time i rate higher too than Digby, and tommy Bowe is more dangerous than Digby too.
      And Francois Hougarrd who is tremendously under rated i rate higher than Digby too, he does some awesome some that South African Hougard real world class stuff a big game performer.
      And Fiji have soem blistering wingers in the top 14 who did not play in the world cup but are going brilliantly, .

      • January 17th 2012 @ 3:52pm
        King of the Gorgonites said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

        seems liek you dont rate diggers at all.

        IMO he is without a doubt the best winger in the world.

        did your mate George North do much in the recent December test v the wallabies?

    • January 17th 2012 @ 3:51pm
      Sam Taulelei said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

      The stats for his contemporaries should be reconciled to only be measured against the same number of tests Digby played in to have any real context and relevance than just rattling off tries scored in games played.

      Digby missed some world cup games he would have been expected to play and score tries in and the stats also don’t take into account the strength of the opposition.

      Digby’s a wonderful winger and I’d happily have him in the All Blacks ahead of Guildford any day.

      • January 17th 2012 @ 3:59pm
        Quakezone... said | January 17th 2012 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

        I don’t believe there is anything wrong with rattling off tries in games played, yes stats do not tell the real story but they never do, I would say trties in games played is as fairer stat as any its the same for all players they all would have liked to play in “easy” games against weak opposition.

        Yeah diggers ahead of Guilford…

        • January 17th 2012 @ 4:23pm
          Sam Taulelei said | January 17th 2012 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

          No neither do I but my point is that if Digby is measured as having a 40% strike rate based on playing 10 games last year then everyone else’s strike rate should be measured against 10 games as well so the sample is the same to be a fair comparison which means that Kahui and Guildford wouldn’t even be in the reckoning as they didn’t play 10 games.

          • January 17th 2012 @ 6:03pm
            Kane said | January 17th 2012 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

            Well lets just pretend they played a few more games and didn’t score, they would still be ahead of him

            • Roar Guru

              January 17th 2012 @ 9:19pm
              Hoy said | January 17th 2012 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

              If you count the world Cup, NZ played teams like Japan, Canda and Tonga. So wingers for NZ could probably rack up some decent try scoring stats in those games.

              Australia, a team not as good as NZ based simply on placings at the world cup, had Italy, Russia, and America. I imagine Italy would beat any of the three easy beats NZ had in their pool, so they are one step up.

              So stats tell you that the Kiwi players scored more tries. Stats don’t really tell the whole story. Oddly enough, Adam Ashley Cooper scored 5 tries at the WC, which puts him in the top three or four try scorers at the WC. I think he had a rubbish year, yet stats say otherwise.

              Perhaps it would be a better indication to see who scored most tries against who? So who scored the most tries out of them in the Tri-Nations? Of the wingers, Digby, Jane and Guildford scored 2 each. Not much difference when they all play the same teams as each other. Having said that, Digby probably played more games than Guildford. But would you like Guildford in your team or Digby? I know which one I would prefer.

              • January 18th 2012 @ 1:25pm
                peterlala said | January 18th 2012 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Hoy, that’s a good point. DI seems to be a real team man. He seems to be someone who comes ready to contribute, rather that being someone who needs counselling.

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