x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Ioane commits to Queensland Reds

The Wallabies utility back ends speculation and signs a new contract with the Super 14 franchise.

SYDNEY // The injured Australia utility back Digby Ioane ended speculation he was to become the latest Queensland Reds player to leave the struggling Super 14 franchise when he signed a new contract with the team on Saturday. The Reds have struggled to retain and recruit international standard players and finished no higher than 10th in the past five Super rugby seasons. Wallabies centre Berrick Barnes said earlier this week he was leaving to join the New South Wales Waratahs, while Wallabies forward Hugh McMeniman is joining a Japanese club.

Australia outside back Drew Mitchell, a Queensland product, also chose to link with the Waratahs rather than rejoin the Reds next season as he moved back to Australia's east coast from the Western Force. Ioane had reportedly been the target of Australia's other Super 14 teams and received international offers, but said on Saturday he had committed with the Reds until the end of 2011. "I couldn't see myself going anywhere else and starting over again. I've played my best footy in Queensland," Ioane said on the team's website.

I've been really happy at Ballymore and I'm relieved all of the uncertainty has finally been removed and I can focus on getting back into the Wallabies and playing well for the Reds next year." Ioane, 24, who had a shoulder reconstruction towards the end of the Super 14, said he was pleased with his recovery from the surgery, though was unsure if he would be ready for the Wallabies tour to Europe in November.

"The healing of the shoulder has been really quick. Some people take ages ? 14 to 15 weeks before they're ready to run. But I was running after only nine weeks. "Everything happens for a reason. Injuries happen and if it (the shoulder) doesn't pull up for the end of the year then I'll focus on next year." * Reuters