Josh Ioane signs for Chiefs after leaving Highlanders early

The Māori All Black first five Josh Ioane has left the Highlanders early to join the Chiefs from the next Super Rugby season.

Ioane, of Te Rārawa, was granted an early release from the Highlanders with a year remaining on his contract.

He's signed a one year deal with the Chiefs for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

The 26-year-old, who holds one All Blacks Test cap to his name, said he is excited to link up with the Chiefs.

"I've loved my time with the Highlanders and am grateful for everything they've done for me" said Ioane.

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

Ioane made his provincial debut for Otago against North Harbour in 2017 and eventual Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2018.

He played 42 Super Rugby matches for the Highlanders.

Ioane made his All Blacks Test debut against Tonga in Hamilton in 2019 and was recently part of the 2021 Māori All Blacks squad.

The newly announced Super Rugby Pacific will kick off on 18 February 2022 and feature 12 teams in an 18 week season.