While many have taken issue with the All Blacks' enforced rest imposed on Super Rugby teams, Blues centre Rieko Ioane appreciates the extra rest afforded to him and his teammates.
As part of the preparation to keep All Blacks as fresh as possible for this year's Rugby World Cup in France, players who have played a test in the last 12 months are permitted to play no more than five consecutive matches in Super Rugby Pacific.
While troublesome for coaches, the All Blacks rest weeks mean players do not have any involvement with their team for the entire week.
However, the orders haven't been well received by fans and some commentators, lamenting why at a time when Super Rugby fights for relevance are the best players not allowed to play.
Some clubs have been able to bend the rules, seeing the Crusaders and Chiefs field Scott Barrett and Samisoni Taukei'aho for a sixth game after making requests.
But for Ioane, who was babysitting his younger siblings while brother Akira and the Blues defeated the Reds in Brisbane, any frustration takes a back seat to the greater good.
"I would have been happy to play, I still sort of feel that way," Ioane said. "But it's more after the fact.
"Coming back in this week, you're refreshed and you want to go again. There were some boys here who were a bit sore on Monday - I'm coming in like a box of daisies.
"I can see the importance of them, even standing here now I'm feeling really good leading into Saturday.
"I definitely feel a lot better."
Now back in training, Ioane will return for the Blues this weekend when they host the Hurricanes at Eden Park.
Likewise the Hurricanes welcome back captain Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett and Tyrel Lomax, who all missed last week's defeat to the Chiefs.2023-05-25T06:16:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd