Burdening a youngster with expectation is always a dangerous game but it's not easy to hold back when it comes to Rieko Ioane.

The done thing with emerging talent in New Zealand is to accentuate the work they still need to do, find reasons to be cautious and slap them down in case they start getting ahead of themselves.

But stuff that in this particular case. If ever there was a player worth getting a little bit excited by, it is Ioane.

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He's only 19 for goodness sake and he has been to the Olympics, won two All Blacks caps and in just 80 minutes, set the 2017 Super Rugby season alight. Whether he likes it or not - whether his coaches like it or not - everyone is going to now be watching him, excited to see more. Anyone with even a passing interest in the game is going to have a look at this kid because it's frankly not human to not be interested in him.

If it hadn't been for Ioane, what exactly would have the handful - and there really were only a handful - of poor Melburnians who turned up to watch their crappy get thumped in the opening game of Super Rugby have had for entertainment.

At least Ioane, albeit playing for the wrong team, gave them the razzle and dazzle they hoped for. Ioane gave them raw power, gliding running, timely distribution and a rasping tackle on home town hope Reece Hodge. He gave them some sense that rugby is a code worth watching, in New Zealand at least.

The only cautionary tone to come out of Ioane's hat-trick performance is that everyone could fail to grasp just how good he's going to be. He's the sort of player that could only touch the ball three times in a game and still look like he's in a different class to everyone else.

He's 1.94m, 104kg and there is a big engine in the chassis. That engine came into play when he plucked an intercept and disappeared and again when he coasted through what was pretty much the entire Rebels backline. Someone clipped him along the way and he barely stumbled before returning to cruising speed.

The Blues won't be keen on having a fixed view about how they should use Ioane for the remainder of the season. The youngster can play centre or wing and is such a talent, that he will be able to flip between the two without any dramas. The prospect of Ioane running off Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield will be tempting, but then again, having him on the wing, at the end of a backline that now looks capable of creating space, will be equally appealing.

Just as the Blues broke the habit of a lifetime by winning away from home on Thursday night, so too should those who follow them think about doing the same and just get a little bit optimistic and expectant about the emerging talent that is Rieko Ioane.

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