Ioane out to make an impact
“You’ve put me on the spot there!”
TJ Ioane laughs when he’s asked to describe his own playing style, as the Samoan looks to become the latest man from the Pacific Island to endear himself to the Warrior Nation.
After his signing on a season-long loan deal from London Irish was greeted with much enthusiasm by Glasgow fans far and wide, the 31-year-old made his club debut against the Ospreys last weekend – something that was a source of immense pride to the tough-tackling back-rower.
“It was awesome to make my debut,” Ioane told glasgowwarriors.org.
“I was so grateful for the opportunity – it was probably the first match I’d played in about two months.
“Obviously it was a bit gutting not to come away with the win, but it was great to get the first one out the way.”
Saturday’s trip to Swansea also marked a reunion of sorts for Ioane, as the Samoan played alongside a former team-mate for the first time in nearly a decade. It’s the latest step in a Warriors experience Ioane is thoroughly enjoying, as he throws himself into life at Scotstoun.
“I played with Aki [Seiuli] about eight years ago for Otago,” explained Ioane.
“He came out the academy and went straight into the first team! We played together for three years, then I left just before the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“It’s funny, we were talking about this the other day; rugby has a funny way of bringing people back together again!
“I’ve settled in really well – I knew a few other boys before I arrived, so that helped make it a smoother transition.Danny [Wilson] has seen something in me that he obviously likes, so I want to get stuck in and repay the faith shown in me.
“Adapting to the cold has been the hardest thing!”
A first home appearance is now firmly on the radar for Ioane, as the Warriors welcome Leinster to Scotstoun for a first-ever Monday night Guinness PRO14 clash. Having got some game-time in his legs at the Liberty Stadium, Ioane is ready to pit himself against the defending champions should he be selected by Wilson and the coaching staff.
“It was good to get the rustiness out the system against the Ospreys,” admitted the Samoan.
“We had a lot of good players out there and we showed what we can do in that first half-hour, we just let ourselves down in the second half. We didn’t execute well enough, and we know we had the talent to do the job. We’ve been working on those parts of the game that weren’t good enough, though, and we’ll hopefully be stronger when Leinster arrive on Monday.
“Coming from the English Premiership, we don’t really get time to watch games from other leagues to be honest. Even then, though, you know that Leinster are one of the top teams in Europe and have an incredible depth in their back-row and across the pitch.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity to test myself against that talent if I’m selected, and I’m pushing hard to try and stay in the 23 this week.”
And as for what the Warrior Nation can expect from Ioane in a Glasgow shirt this season? His answer to the question is simple.
“I want to contribute as much as I can to this team,” said Ioane.
“I try to bring the energy and contribute wherever I can in attack or defence. Hopefully the fans watching at home like it and I’ll give 100% every time I’m picked.”