Categories crunchfx

Irish club Connacht ‘excited’ to sign Josh Ioane – Te Ao Māori News

Former All Black and Māori AB player Josh Ioane (Te Rārawa) has signed a season-long contract with Irish club Connacht.

“I am excited to start a new chapter with Connacht and I look forward to seeing what the future holds,” said the 29-year-old, who has been with Waikato Chiefs since 2022.

Connacht began their new season in September after finishing 11th out of 16 teams last season.

Head Coach Pete Wilkins said he was “thrilled” to welcome Ioane.

“In Josh, we have acquired a player with a wealth of experience and excellent skills who will both excite our fans and complement our existing defenders. We look forward to him joining the squad and helping us achieve success next season.”

The club launched a campaign on social media to encourage fans to say “Kia ora” to Ioane.

One of the club’s fans made a gesture of approval.

“What a signing, I’ve watched him play and he’ll be a great addition,” said one Connacht fan, while another was curious about Kiwi views on their new signing: “Chiefs fans, what’s a goal kick like(?)”

Ioane began his super rugby career there in 2018 when he was first choice No. 10 at Otago Highlanders, where he made 43 appearances for the team, including 29 appearances, mostly from the bench, before moving to the Chiefs.

“I am forever grateful for my time with Gallagher Chiefs. A huge thank you to the fans, the club and my team-mates for three unforgettable seasons.”

In 2018, he was selected for the Māori All Blacks against the USA Eagles, Brazil and Chile, and was also selected for the matches against Samoa in 2021 and Ireland the following year.

Ioane made his All Blacks test debut against Tonga in Hamilton in September 2019, coming off the bench to score 8 points in a 92-7 win, but was not selected for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later that month.

He played in two matches for the All Blacks XV, including the match against Ireland ‘A’ in November 2022.