All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane has agreed a new four year deal with New Zealand Rugby.

World Rugby's breakout player of 2017, and a player considered the best wing in the world, Blues finisher Ioane has been a high-priority signing for the national organisation.

His new deal will be announced alongside that of his brother, Akira, a loose forward on the cusp of the All Blacks squad this morning. Akira is to commit for three years.

With 18 tries in 18 tests, Rieko has become a key attacking weapon for the All Blacks.

Advertisement

"I feel incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to play my rugby here for another four years. I want to give it my best shot at serving the black jersey and, hopefully, I'll get the chance to play at the Rugby World Cup in the future. That's a huge motivator for me," he said.

"It was obviously tough this year for the Blues, but I feel we're on the verge of something special and I want to be a part of that journey. Auckland is my home, it's where I grew up and it's the city that made me as a rugby player, so I want to do my bit to help it move forward."

The All Blacks coaching staff clearly have big wraps on the winger who became the eighth youngest All Blacks test debutant when he came off the bench against Italy at the age of 19 years and 239 days in November 2016.

"He's a vital component of our plan going forward," said assistant coach Ian Foster in Sydney last month before a Bledisloe Cup test in which Ioane strained a hamstring.

"I can't speak highly enough about him. He came in with a bit of a swagger and he has learned about the All Blacks. What I like is he has got real maturity about him, he hasn't got ahead of himself, and he quietly goes about his work.

"He's learning how to prepare better and better every test match, and when he goes out and plays he seems to enjoy doing what he's done since he was a kid. As long as we can keep him in that mode it's really exciting."

Rieko could have virtually named his price on the open market but is determined to leave a lasting legacy in the All Blacks jersey.

New Zealand Rugby's next priorities will be to lock in first-five Beauden Barrett, locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, and loose forward Sam Cane, all of whom come off contract at the end of next year. All are likely to want to extend their time in New Zealand and perhaps as far out as the 2023 World Cup in France.

Advertisement

Whitelock, 29, with 102 tests behind him, will be earmarked as the next All Blacks captain once Kieran Read, 32, calls it quits.

Plenty of quick men have played for the All Blacks over the years - wings such as Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Doug Howlett scorched across pitches around the world and had try-scoring records to match - but incumbent left wing Rieko Ioane may be the quickest of all.

Ioane qualifies as one of the quickest rugby players in the world today. The 21-year-old has scored 18 tries in 18 tests.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen revealed Ioane has hit speeds up to 37km/h in testing, a pace many people would struggle to match on a bicycle.

That compares well with renowned rugby speedsters Carlin Isles of the United States, a former track sprinter who has been unofficially clocked at 36km/h in a sevens match, and Fijian sevens star Alosio Naduva, who has hit a similar top speed.

"I've been calling him 80 Per Cent for the last couple of weeks because we didn't want him running any faster than that," Hansen said of his and trainer Nic Gill's desire to protect Ioane's hamstring. "Gilly has timed him and he's running 35-37km/h, so he's back to 100."

Usain Bolt, the 100m world record holder with a time of 9.58s set at the 2009 world championships in Berlin, reached a top speed of 44.72km/h between 60m and 80m in that race. He covered the distance at an average of 37.58km/h.

Hansen didn't reveal any other details about Ioane's pace and the man himself was reluctant to divulge too much - probably out of modesty more than anything - but his top speed was probably set in a 40m sprint, now regarded as a standard rugby speed test.

Ioane said: "We have heaps of quick boys in our team with Waisake [Naholo] and Baz [Beauden Barrett], and even Crotts [Ryan Crotty, sitting alongside him as he spoke] is up there these days. Everyone is up around there. If I'm faster than all the forwards, then I'm happy."

Ioane's ability to reach top speed quickly and maintain it sets him apart from many other players. The standouts among his many memorable tries are his score for the Blues against the British and Irish Lions when he received Stephen Perofeta's long pass and was gone in a flash, standing up Israel Folau in Sydney last year and his intercept against South Africa at Newlands a few weeks later.

He can score tries others can't because he needs only a few metres to go past or through the defence, and when you add in his sidestep and improved power and fend, it makes him a dangerous attacking threat.

"I felt pretty comfortable last week with how it was going," Ioane said of his recovery and missing the Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park and last week's match against the Pumas in Nelson. "I could have played last week. Steve and the medical staff know best and they gave me another week's rest, which has made me feel a lot better coming into this one."

Asked what training at only 80 per cent was like, he said: "It's all pretty easy - it makes training easier if you don't go full-out."

Rokocoko, who scored 46 tries in 68 tests, was quick. So was Sivivatu, who scored 33 in 48 tests, and Howlett, who holds the All Blacks' try-scoring record with 49 in 62 tests. Other notable speedsters connected with New Zealand rugby include former Chiefs player Sosene Anesi, who played one test in 2005, and former Northland and Blues wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca, who scored 10 tries in eight tests for Fiji. Former Chiefs wing Toni Pulu, who is heading for the Brumbies, is said to be one of the quickest in Super Rugby.

And the Boks have a speedster of their own: Lions wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, a man who won't be marking Ioane (Jesse Kriel, normally a midfielder, has that duty), will be attempting to make life difficult for All Blacks right wing Ben Smith.

"Obviously he's had a standout season," Ioane said. "I've watched a couple of his highlights ... he's a real threat on attack."