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Benetton statement: Monty Ioane exits with 'mental health issues'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Italian URC club Benetton have revealed their contract with Monty Ioane has been terminated by mutual agreement just months after the Test winger agreed to an extension. The 27-year-old, who started all five matches for the Azzurri in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, hasn’t played for the Treviso-based club since April and won’t be starting the new 2022/23 URC season with them.

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A statement read: “Benetton Rugby announces that it has consensually terminated the contract that linked the player Montanna Ioane to the green and white club until June 30, 2024. The Australian winger, who arrived in Treviso in November 2017, had collected 82 appearances and scored 155 points from 31 tries in his five seasons.

“The president Amerino Zatta, general manager Antonio Pavanello and all of Benetton Rugby thank Ioane for the precious contribution provided during the five seasons spent in green and white and wish him and his family the best for the future.”

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Explaining what has happened and why he needed to quit Benetton, Ioane said in the club statement: “I thank Benetton Rugby for the enormous opportunity granted me in these splendid five years.

“In Treviso, I found a family ready to make me mature as a man and to give me support even in the most difficult moments, as well as a club that has allowed me to grow a lot from a sporting point of view.

“The termination of the contract with Benetton Rugby, despite the renewal which took place last December, comes due to mental health issues that have forced me to stop playing rugby in recent months. Issues that in this moment of my life lead me to stay in Australia close to my wife and my children. Finally, I would like to thank my teammates and the fans for the warmth shown to me. Come on, Leoni.”

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Ioane subsequently confirmed to RugbyPass that he hopes to continue his playing career in Australia. “I will not stop playing rugby. I will just be continuing my rugby back home in Australia,” he explained.

A nephew of Digby, the 35-cap former Wallabies player, Ioane told RugbyPass last year: “Rugby was always my No1 and I was obsessed with it. It’s my job and it’s what I love to do but now I realise that rugby isn’t everything. I had a period where if I had a bad game I couldn’t sleep and it would literally take over me and I would start to be in a really bad place.

“Like even towards my family, which was not good because I really took it out on people if I had a bad game. I wouldn’t be satisfied unless the next game was a good game. That is how much rugby had taken over me. I reflected back on life a little bit and came to a realisation that rugby isn’t everything, that life is really valuable and precious and I should be enjoying it.”

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