There have been little moments, the odd burst of something special from the Ioane brothers this year which continues to foster hope that one or both is suddenly going to ignite.

Rieko and Akira Ioane are arguably the most exciting project players in the country and if they can get their physical conditioning right and nail their mental approach, the Blues will have deadly weaponry with which to transform their campaign.

Rieko is the only centre in Super Rugby who has enough pace and power to beat men on the outside and in the opening game of the season, showed that he can destroy teams on his own.

Akira, at 1.96m and 113kg, is a wrecking ball of a player - the sort of ball carrier, who proved off the bench last week, that even the best defenders can't stop easily.


But neither brother has given the Blues consistency this year - neither is delivering definitive performances that establish their class.

The All Blacks would also welcome a finely-tuned Ioane package and if the national selectors could be granted one wish, it would be for the brothers to fulfil their enormous potential.

They are outrageously gifted. Exactly the sort of athletes the All Blacks are after and if cracking top flight football was simply about talent alone, these two would be All Blacks until they retire.

But the qualities that sustain international careers are hard work, discipline, sacrifice, attitude and desire and it is the battle to instil these factors where the real challenge lies with the Ioane boys.

As much as their natural talent has been their greatest strength, it has potential to be their greatest threat.

That's true more so with Akira, the older of the two, yet still only 21. His ability to frustrate coaching staff is proving to be stubbornly enduring.

The memory of his stunning try against the Force in 2015, when he was just 19 and had barely played, looks more like an aberration than the sign of things to come as it originally appeared.

Ioane senior has gone backwards in the last 12 months. His body composition has regressed, his work rate hasn't increased and there is no discernable evidence he has absorbed and accepted the clear messages he has been given about what he needs to do to consistently improve his performance. Patience hasn't been exhausted but it is being tested.

His potential is too great for him to simply be abandoned. He's too young to be told he's had all the chances he's going to get, but at the same time, both the Blues and All Blacks coaches are desperate for him to show a desire to work harder and take on a greater level of responsibility for his preparation.

It should be obvious to Ioane that his Blues teammate and All Blacks blindside incumbent Jerome Kaino is nearing the end of his career.

The All Blacks are looking for his successor, with Liam Squire and Elliot Dixon perhaps front of the queue, but in no way locked in. Ioane, if he could prove that he's genuinely motivated and prepared to be more disciplined and professional in his approach, could leapfrog them.

The situation with Rieko is less vexed. He's only just turned 20 and his challenges in adjusting to the professional demands of top level rugby have not been self-inflicted. His appetite to be coached is healthy.

His ability to take on advice is good and if he hasn't quite fired yet this season, it's more a result of the overwhelming demands that have been place upon him.

He's played for Auckland, the Blues, New Zealand Maori, New Zealand Sevens and All Blacks in the last 12 months.

He's had to adjust, adapt and react quickly to the different demands of playing for different teams and Blues coach Tana Umaga remains firmly optimistic that a consistency of messages and simply playing for one team will afford both brothers the space they need to become more self-reliant and cognisant of what they must do to play well.

"They are young and they are natural talents and probably with a little bit of effort, that has got them to where they are now," says Umaga.

"The biggest thing for them is expectation. Everyone expects them to be a certain way straight away and they are 20 and 21. They have been selected in New Zealand sides doing what they have been doing and now they are being told they should be doing this and that.

"What kind of message are we sending them? There is a bit of what is happening to them now that is a product of what they have been allowed to do. We are asking our boys to grow up pretty quick in this environment and we are asking kids who have just left school to act like this be like this and have this kind of awareness. We have to make sure we have that patience and don't say, 'he's not doing what we need, lets chuck him out and forget about him."