Chiefs complete signing of Josh Ioane

Josh Ioane was recently released from Highlanders
Josh Ioane was recently released from Highlanders
©Steve Haag

Chiefs have announced the signing of New Zealand international Josh Ioane ahead of the 2022 season.

The news comes a day after the 26-year-old secured a release from the final year of his contract from Super Rugby side the Highlanders.

“I’ve loved my time with the Highlanders and am grateful for everything they’ve done for me” said Ioane to the club's official William Hill sign up offer website.

“However, I’m excited to link up with the Chiefs whanau, they’ve built an amazing culture up there from what I’ve heard and I admire what the Gallagher Chiefs are about. Hopefully I am able to add something to that environment”

Having made his provincial rugby debut in 2017 for North Harbour, the versatile 26-year-old went on to play his first Super Rugby game for Highlanders in 2018 and has featured in 42 games since then.

Ioane was a product of Otago Academy and also had represented the Samoa Under 20 side, Maori All Blacks and South Island. He made a solitary Test appearance for the All Blacks that came in 2019 against Tonga scoring 8 points on debut.

“Josh is a quality footballer and welcome addition to the Gallagher Chiefs. His versatility and experience is advantageous, but more importantly, creates further depth and genuine competition for places across our backline.” said McMillan.

“That brings a healthy edge to a team environment and we need that to keep fostering individual and collective growth. I know Josh is excited about challenging himself in a new environment and we look forward to him joining the Chiefs whanau in 2022.”

This signing comes in the wake of All Black full back Damian McKenzie's exit from the Chiefs earlier in the week, which will leave him out of the new Super Rugby Pacific competition.

McKenzie, whose contract with New Zealand Rugby is due to finish at the end of the year, played 95 times for the Chiefs and is reportedly set for a lucrative move to Japan.

There have been plenty of All Black talent that have found a new experience of rugby in Japan, with some of the name including Kieran Read, TJ Perenara, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett to name but a few.

It hasn't yet been released where Damian is going to play his rugby in the Japanese Top League, but some rumours have arisen that he could be linking up with fellow New Zealand international Barrett at Tokyo's  Suntory Sungoliath.