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Ioane learns from Barnes' woes

29/06/2011 03:19:17 PM Comments (0)

Blockbusting Queensland winger Digby Ioane says he's taken heed of Berrick Barnes' concussion problems to ease himself back for Saturday night's Super Rugby semi-final.

Ioane entered dangerous territory when he was knocked out cold and hospitalised by a swinging forearm from Brumbies forward Ita Vaea at Suncorp Stadium four weeks ago.

But rather than rush back into the Reds line-up, the Wallabies game-breaker and Queensland's medicos decided to play it safe.

Ioane was a frustrated, though proud, observer as the Reds recovered from their loss to the Brumbies to beat Western Force and Chiefs and finish as top seeds for the play-offs.

He admitted he learned a lesson from Test teammate Barnes' plight this season, being forced to withdraw from the latter stages of the Waratahs campaign after being diagnosed with footballer's migraine.

A succession of head knocks early in the season, on top of previous years, combined to affect the playmaker's balance and confidence, and now have his future clouded.

"I feel for him (Barnes) what he's gone through but it's a lesson. When you get knocked out you've got to rest and look after yourself," Ioane said.

"You can't be forcing yourself to play the following week because it sets a bad example for any other youngster coming through and trying to be a hero and play."

After enjoying a three-week break since the hit, Ioane insists he is in the right head space to confront the Blues in Saturday night's opening semi-final in Brisbane.

Ioane insists he is feeling "better than ever" after his break and vows there will be no avoiding contact with a threatening Blues outside back division that has been bolstered by the return of Rene Ranger.

"It's a massive opportunity to prove something," he said.

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