Ioane brothers sign long-term contracts with NZ Rugby

By Jessica Tyson

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane and his brother Akira have both signed long-term contracts with New Zealand Rugby, playing for the Blues.

Rieko, 21, has signed a four-year deal through to the end of 2022 and his older brother Akira, 23, has signed until 2021.

Rieko says he was "hugely excited" to be recommitting to New Zealand.

"I feel incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to play my rugby here for another four years.  I want to give it my best shot at serving the black jersey and, hopefully I'll get the chance to play at the Rugby World Cup in the future.  That's a huge motivator for me.”

"It was obviously tough this year for the Blues, but I feel we're on the verge of something special and I want to be a part of that journey.  Auckland is my home, it's where I grew up and it's the city that made me as a rugby player, so I want to do my bit to help it move forward."

Akira says, "It was important for me to stay in Auckland and at the Blues because it's my home and I want to help the teams in this city succeed.  I also want to keep playing my best rugby and try and make it back into the All Blacks again.

"It will also be special sharing the next few years with my brother and representing our family out on the footy field."

Rieko became the eighth youngest All Blacks test debutant when he came off the bench against Italy at the age of 19 years in November 2016. 

He has now started 16 of his 18 tests and scored 18 tries to date, as well as 20 tries in 35 appearances for the Blues.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen says it is “fantastic” news for New Zealand Rugby.

“Rieko is a young player with undoubted talent who has already achieved wonderful things on the international stage.  With his growing maturity and growth in his game understanding, I'm sure we'll see his game go to even greater heights.

"Akira is also an immense talent who has a bright future in our national game and we congratulate him on his decision as well."

For more on this story watch Te Kāea tonight on Māori Television.