Rugby: Crusaders confirm Ioane signing

New Crusaders signing Digby Ioane playing for Stade Francais. Photo / Getty
New Crusaders signing Digby Ioane playing for Stade Francais. Photo / Getty

New Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has moved quickly to replaced departing wing Nemani Nadolo by signing former Reds and Wallabies player Digby Ioane.

Ioane, 31, is Robertson's first signing after taking over from Todd Blackadder following the team's Super Rugby quarter-final defeat last weekend. Ioane, who has played 86 Super rugby matches and 35 tests, has signed a two-year deal.

After leaving the Reds in 2013, Ioane played two seasons with Stade Francais in France and is about to have his second season with the Honda Heat in Japan.

"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," he said. "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.

I would like to thank my manager Michael Hobbs and Robbie Deans for their support in making this happen," Ioane said.

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

"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. We also know he will make a huge contribution off the field, with his energy, great character and good humour," Robertson said.

- NZ Herald

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