Key All Black signs new deal but only for one season
- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 19 October 2022, 12:33PM
All Blacks midfielder Rieko Ioane has extended his contract with New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2023.
With an eye to earning selection at his second Rugby World Cup, the 25-year-old has committed to staying in New Zealand with the Blues in Super Rugby Pacific and Auckland in the NPC.
Last week winger Sevu Reece signed on until the end of 2024, while earlier this month fellow midfielder and backfield utility Jordie Barrett re-committed until the end of 2025.
"I'm really excited to be signing through until 2023," said Ioane. "My time with the Blues has been awesome. I love the turnaround we've had and I'm keen to continue building on what we have done as a team.
"With the All Blacks, I feel as though we have started something special. I'm looking forward to a huge Northern Tour and putting in the work to get us in good shape for next year."
Ioane's list of international honours include an Olympic Games in rugby sevens, selection for the Māori All Blacks and he was also the captain of the New Zealand secondary schools team. The 2017 World Rugby breakthrough player of the year is now into his seventh season with the All Blacks, where he has played 56 tests with 48 of those in the starting XV.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster was in charge of the backs as an assistant when Ioane earned his first selection in 2016 and has witnessed immense growth in him as a player and a person.
"Rieko is a young man with a massive amount of international experience. So to have his commitment through till the end of the World Cup is pleasing for us. And hopefully for longer after that."
A member of the Blues under-17 and under-18 development sides, Ioane has become a key contributor at Super Rugby level. Playing for the Blues on both the wing and in the midfield he has 45 tries to his name, making him a fan favourite.
"We're looking forward to another big season for Rieko, he's playing some of the best rugby of his career," said Blues head coach Leon MacDonald.
"Rieko has been with the Blues since he was a teenager, he's been through our system and is part of our Blues family, so to have him contracted again is great news.
"He is a leader on and off the field, and is now in a position to pass on his knowledge and experience to our younger squad members. We are looking forward to him continuing to be a world-class centre for the club."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission
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