So it doesn't really count as the opposition in the second outing weren't up to much, but Rieko Ioane has scored consecutive hat-tricks in his last two All Blacks appearances.

The fact the second was against provincial opposition in a knock about game over the weekend prevents this from being any kind of record, but shouldn't prevent anyone from being more than curious about what the youngster is going to deliver in the Rugby Championship.

Regardless of who he plays against, Ioane has proven he can score tries from almost nothing.

He's proven that he's the most potent attacking weapon in world rugby and that all the All Blacks have to do is give him the ball with just a fraction of pace.


That's all he needed in the first test against the Lions last year. That's all he needed in the North Harbour clash against South Africa and in final outing of 2017 to score two crucial tries against Wales.

And that's all he needed to score a hat-trick against France in Dunedin and another in the 'Game of Three Halves' on Friday night.

What's also becoming more apparent with Ioane is that he's at his most lethal when he attacks through the midfield.

That doesn't mean he's best suited to playing in the midfield, rather that when he comes off his wing and attacks in that channel off the centre's shoulder, he's just about untouchable.

That's where he damaged Wales and France and it's because when he pops up there, he's usually at full tilt against a defender that can't match his pace.

When he makes such a good job of demolishing defenders in that space and is so deadly when he comes off his wing, inevitably the question becomes whether the All Blacks should shift him to centre.

That's where he played most of his schoolboy rugby and is his stated preference. The Blues used him there and at-second five for most of this year and barely had him on the wing at all.

Rieko Ioane of the All Blacks scores a try during the Game of 3 Halves. Photo / Photosport
Rieko Ioane of the All Blacks scores a try during the Game of 3 Halves. Photo / Photosport

It's also where the All Blacks used him in the 'Game of Three Halves', but it's not a position he's likely to be used in again by the national team.

Not from the start of a game anyway. Maybe, depending on the configuration of the bench, he could be asked to fill-in at centre in the latter stages of some tests, but the prospect of him starting a test there this year, unless there is a long and significant injury drama, is slim to non-existent.

"He was all right but we have got enough of them," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after the 'Game of Three Halves' in regard to how he felt Ioane played at centre.

"To give everyone a run the logical thing was to put him at centre. We didn't really care where people played we just wanted them to play and experience burning lungs."

The All Blacks already have a midfield log jam without Ioane adding to it. Hansen knows that Ioane has the ability to play at No 13 and play well there for the All Blacks, but that he's better suited to being on the left wing.

As to who will be at centre for the All Blacks in Sydney, that question is not so easy to answer.

With Sonny Bill Williams unavailable, Ryan Crotty will revert to second-five and that will create a straight choice between Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue.

The former has more experience and was starting to produce his best form for the Chiefs in the closing stages of Super Rugby.

But Crotty and Goodhue have been the Crusaders preferred combination for the past two seasons and while the latter only has the one cap, the temptation of keeping the club mates together might be too hard for Hansen to resist.

That also paves the way for Lienert-Brown to come off the bench where he has shown an ability to be a high contributing impact player.

The other added attraction of picking Goodhue at centre is that he's rated one of the best distributors in the country, particularly his ability to exploit a two-on-one.