Digby Ioane is coming back to Super Rugby, but he’ll be lining up against the Aussies, signing with the Crusaders for two seasons.
Ioane left the competition 2013, after joining Stade Francais in the Top 14 in 2013, playing for the French side for two seasons.
The winger played for Japanese Top League side Honda Heat in the summer and will return to Japan next summer as well.
The 31-year-old said he couldn’t pass up the chance to return to the Super Rugby competition, interestingly to play with the team that he won a championship against five years ago.
“I have had a great time playing in France and Japan, but the opportunity to be part of a New Zealand Super Rugby team is too good to pass up,” he said.
“I love the intensity and tempo of Super Rugby and the New Zealand teams are leading the charge in that respect at the moment, so I can’t wait to be a part of that.
“I have a huge respect for the Crusaders, having faced them as the opposition team on a number of occasions, and I am honoured to be linked with such a quality team.
“I would like to thank my manager Michael Hobbs and Robbie Deans for their support in making this happen.”
2017 Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has high expectations for his new recruit.
““Digby is a massive talent, who we believe still has plenty of top class playing years left in him despite his experience,” he said.
“He has played 35 tests for the Wallabies and has created some of the most memorable moments in Super Rugby while he was playing there.
“Digby is in the best condition of his life right now and we are excited about what he can do for this team, with his remarkable ability to create opportunities and score tries.
“We also know he will make a huge contribution off the field, with his energy, great character and good humour.”