Sport | Rugby

Irish club Connacht ‘thrilled’ to sign Josh Ioane

Irish club Connacht are hyped over the signing of Josh Ioane on a season-long deal. Photo / Connacht / YouTube

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

“I’m excited for the next chapter with Connacht and looking forward to what’s to come,” said the 29-year-old, who has been with the Waikato Chiefs since 2022.

Connacht started its new campaign in September, after finishing 11th of 16 teams last season.

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

“In Josh, we have secured a player with a wealth of experience and an excellent skill set, that will both excite our supporters and complement our existing backs. We look forward to him joining the squad and helping us push for success next season.”

The club has taken to their socials to say “Kia ora” to Ioane and hype up their fans.

One of the club’s fans gave his tick of approval.

“What a signing, I’ve watched him play and he’s going to be a super addition”, while another of the Connacht faithful was keen for some Kiwi insight into their new signing, “Chiefs fans what is [h]is goal kicking like[?]”

Ioane was first choice no. 10 for the Otago Highlanders, where he made his super rugby debut in 2018, playing 43 games for the franchise before switching to the Chiefs where he has made 29 appearances, many off the bench.

“Forever grateful for my time with the Gallagher Chiefs. A big thank you to the fans, the club and my teammates for making it a memorable three seasons.”

He was selected for the Māori All Blacks in 2018 against the USA Eagles, Brazil and Chile and was also picked for games against Samoa in 2021 and Ireland the following year.

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

He featured in two games for the All Blacks XV including against Ireland ‘A’ in November 2022.