Highlanders release All Blacks prospect Josh Ioane from contract
The Super Franchise confirmed that they had “released Josh Ioane from the last year of his contract to enable him to explore other opportunities.”
Capped one time by the All Blacks in 2019, reports have linked Ioane to a likely move to one of Super Rugby’s newest teams – Pasifika Moana.
The 26-year-old played for the new side in their inaugural match last year and it is widely speculated that the new franchise is his likely destination. Ioane was pictured in his action for Moana Pasifika in the promotional material for the new Super Rugby competition, which was unveiled today.
Although he’s originally an Aucklander, Ioane travelled south to Dunedin in 2014 to study and play Premier club rugby for Southern RFC. Ioane made progress in the Otago Academy Development before playing age-grade Otago rugby, as well as for the Samoan U20 side.
Ioane made his provincial debut for Otago against North Harbour in 2017 and his Super Rugby debut in 2018. He took his game to another level in 2019 as the first choice standoff for the HighLanders, ending the regular season with 114 points, including 4 tries, 32 conversions and 10 penalties.
There was no mention of Ioane when Highlanders Head Coach Tony Brown spoke about the launch of Super Rugby Pacific.“It’s good to finally have something new and exciting to look forward to in super rugby. The introduction of Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua will add some significant new challenges to the competition,” said Brown. “The style of play, skill and physicality those teams will bring to Super Rugby Pacific will certainly enhance the competition as a spectacle; it would certainly be an exciting encounter playing those teams under the roof at home”.
Whatever happens, the 5’11, 90kg won’t be in Highlanders colours in 2022.
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