Rieko and Akira Ioane are poised to remain with the Blues franchise, provided New Zealand Rugby agrees to terms with the pair. The Blues portion of the contract has already been agreed upon according to head coach Tana Umaga.
“As far as I know [the contracts] are with New Zealand,” said Umaga.
“When you sign here there are two people that need to get the deal done. At this stage, they know what we’re offering and it’s down to NZ Rugby now.
“They’re both committed in terms of the last discussions we’ve had.
“That’s what we’ve been waiting for, and we’re very happy about the outcome.”
“We’re not chasing Akira now because we believe he’s staying with the Blues,” said Plumtree.
“He was made available to every franchise in the country a little while ago and I’m sure there were a lot of clubs interested.”
Head coach Tana Umaga isn’t phased by the talk, aware that agents are required to find the best deal for their clients. He is happy the brothers have re-committed as the franchise looks to turn around its recent run of poor results.
“That’s the agent’s prerogative. That’s his job trying to get the best for his client. It’s not great for us, or it hasn’t been, but the positive thing is that he’s staying with us. That’s the thing we’re looking forward to and I know Aki is as well.”
Akira Ioane continues to demonstrate his growing potential with dominant performances with ball-in-hand, pushing his case for national selection. It is no surprise that there were other interested suitors for his services, Plumtree adding that they have ‘a gap for that type of player’.
The retention is an important part of re-building the Blues, with both the Ioane’s homegrown products.
“It’s important to retain all the talent we have, and those guys especially because they’re playing well and they mean a lot to our club, and a lot to our region. To get those nods is really positive for us as whole.”
“You guys are just catching up. We’ve been dealing with it for a while now. It’s come to light probably not in the way we would have liked but it’s the industry we’re in.”
“We’ve got no control over that. It is what it is, and the end of the story is he’s with us.”
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