Ioane to stay in Japan

Former Wallabies winger Digby Ioane has brought his Crusaders stint to a close after just one Super Rugby season in Canterbury.

Ioane joined the Crusaders at the start of 2017 but was hampered by injuries as the red-and-blacks claimed the title, playing just three games.

He’ll remain with his current Japanese Top League club, the Robbie Deans-coached Panasonic Wild Knights, for next year’s campaign.

Ioane credited the Crusaders for restoring his love of rugby, but said his body was no longer suited to the rigours of Super Rugby.

“I’ll miss my teammates and all of the other people I met while I was there – there’s some awesome young talent in the Crusaders’ squad,” Ioane said.

“For me, at this stage of my playing career, I’m aware I’m much more likely to end up dealing with injuries at that Super Rugby level.

“It feels great to be injury-free and getting regular game time at the moment, so I know that this is the right thing for me.”

The 32-year-old Ioane – who was born in New Zealand before moving to Australia as a child – has played for the Wallabies 35 times.

He has previously played for Australian outfits Western Force and Queensland Reds, as well as Paris-based Top 14 side Stade Francais.

Crusaders boss Scott Robertson thanked Ioane for his hard work.

“We loved having Digby in our environment this year and he brought all of the energy and charisma that we knew he would,” Robertson said.

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