Super Rugby

Ioane agrees Crusaders switch

Digby Ioane will make his Super Rugby return next season after agreeing a two-year contract with Crusaders.

Ioane – who has played 35 times for Australia – previously represented Western Force and the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby, the winger making 86 appearances in seven years.

Spells with Stade Francais in France and Japan's Honda Heat have followed, but Ioane could not resist the chance to return to Super Rugby, becoming Scott Robertson's first signing after taking over from Todd Blackadder as coach.

"I have had a great time playing in France and Japan, but the opportunity to be part of a New Zealand Super Rugby team is too good to pass up," said the 31-year-old.

"I love the intensity and tempo of Super Rugby and the New Zealand teams are leading the charge in that respect at the moment, so I can't wait to be a part of that. 

"I have a huge respect for the Crusaders, having faced them as the opposition team on a number of occasions, and I am honoured to be linked with such a quality team."

Robertson – who will replace Blackadder at the helm for the 2017 campaign – is looking forward to seeing Ioane in action and has backed him to make a "huge contribution".

"Digby is a massive talent, who we believe still has plenty of top-class playing years left in him despite his experience," he said. 

"He has played 35 Tests for the Wallabies and has created some of the most memorable moments in Super Rugby while he was playing there. 

"Digby is in the best condition of his life right now and we are excited about what he can do for this team, with his remarkable ability to create opportunities and score tries."