Monty Ioane has “lost count” of how long he’s been locked down in Italy

Samoan-Australian winger, Monty Ioane, has been in COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, where he plays for Pro 14 club Benetton Treviso, since early march.

The 25-year-old spoke about his experience to ESPN’s Sam Bruce:

"It feels like I've been in lockdown for about two-and-a-half months but I've honestly lost count," he said.

"It's been a long time, especially with the kids, because we had the rule where we weren't allowed to be more than 200 metres from your apartment or residence.

"That rule just got lifted last Thursday or Friday, so we've been going for walks here and then. But it's tough trying to keep the kids busy inside the house all day, for two-and-a-half months."

He said there are positives to the experience though; spending more time with family.

Because the Pro 14 features teams from Italy, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and South Africa, Ioane, who is the nephew of former Wallaby winger Digby, would spend much of the season flying back and forth from overseas.

However he likely won’t be making those trips for a while, and is in fact somewhat apprehensive about a return to the field.

“I haven't done any road running for about two months, so I'm a little bit worried [about conditioning] if they do continue the season,” Ioane said.

"The lockdown might get lifted on May 3 and we're all [the players] are a bit worried about that; if they get the all clear we'll have about six weeks of training and then we'll start the season again."

He has greatly enjoyed his time at Benetton so far since arriving halfway through the 2017/18 season.

“That year I arrived, and the year after, I actually played some really good footy,” Ioane said. 

“We were the underdogs, so people weren't really expecting a turnaround for us. And last season it was awesome because we ended up making the semifinals and we just lost in the last couple of minutes by a few points. So it's been a good experience."

Ioane would be eligible to play for the country of his heritage (Samoa) or birth (Australia), but has his eyes on representing his new home of Italy once he meets residency requirements.

"I think I qualify in November, which is quite exciting,” he said. 

“It was never my plan and I almost came home [at one point] and gave Super Rugby a crack. But I realised Benetton had pretty much brought the best out of me.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it; it will be quite an exciting road, the challenge of playing Test rugby. So if I do get the opportunity, I would like to play for Italy for sure. But I can only wait and see if I get selected."

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