When the All Blacks get into the business of reviewing their epic test at Murrayfield, the power of their scrummaging and desperation of their scrambling defence will be seen as the game-savers.

But they should also cast considerable light on the performance of Rieko Ioane, who pitched in with an 80-minute effort that was arguably the best of his career to date.

He's had tests where he has made more running metres, beaten more defenders and scored more points. He's had tests where his contribution has been more obvious.

What he did in Edinburgh, though, was give the All Blacks vital metres at crucual times.
He made half breaks when his side were drifting nowhere and with those, he enabled the direction of attack to switch from east-to-west to north-to-south.


It was his pace that mostly troubled the Scots - his acceleration that allowed him to find space that wasn't there. His power was also on show, however, as several times he bounced out of tackles to find that little bit of extra go-forward.

Ioane was the All Blacks' escape valve essentially. He was the player, when the All Blacks were under the most pressure and in need of something to escape the clutches of a smothering Scottish defence, who came up with the goods.

It was a selfless and determined effort from Ioane and as much as it highlighted his natural gifts of searing pace, agility and explosive power, it also demonstrated that he had clearly absorbed the coaching staff's request that they would like to see him up his
work rate.

That was the key to it all - Ioane went hunting for the ball. He was hungry to be involved and willing to cover the extra ground required to do so.

It was telling that he was the provider for Codie Taylor's try and not the finisher. Taylor was posted where Ioane in theory should have been, last man on the left side.

Ioane, though, had taken himself off to the other side of the field and then popped up for a second time in quick succession to throw the huge pass that made enough space for the hooker to dive in at the corner.

It was an A-plus performance from Ioane and is turned out, it will be his last of the year as he has been ruled out of this week's clash against Wales.

The plus side of that is that he has signed off for 2017 having played exactly as everyone wanted him to in his last 80 minutes.


He can, once he's enjoying his preseason in New Zealand, cast his mind back to an icy-cold day in Edinburgh and be sure that he now has his benchmark set.

What he won't be so sure about this week is whether he has done enough to win over the World Rugby judging panel who are considering him for both Breakthrough and World Player of the Year.

Ioane, like Israel Falou who has also been short-listed for the latter, can't do any more than he has.

The Blues youngster will have to hope that he's already banked enough. And maybe he has for who has been more of a consistent attacking threat in world rugby this year?

Folau was good throughout the Rugby Championship, but struggled as part of a bumbling Wallabies team in June and has skipped the current tour to have a sabbatical.

Ioane has probably been - just - that little bit more dangerous than Folau: that little bit more able to make something from nothing and has a longer body of work so to speak.

And, Ioane famously skinned Folau in Sydney earlier this year and if there is nothing between them, that one act should be seen as the tie-breaker.

The other three short-listed candidates, Beauden Barrett, Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje have another week to stake their claim. Each has done plenty already to merit winning the coveted award.

Farrell especially has been a consistent force for England and the Lions, but he hasn't had grabbed the imagination in the same way Ioane has.

A 20-year-old who has scored nine test tries in his first full season of test football and looked like the star turn against every team he has played including the Lions, that surely is enough for him to feel that he has to be a good chance, an excellent chance even, to win both World Rugby awards.