Ioane denies massive Japanese rugby deal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ioane denies massive Japanese rugby deal

Jim Morton 14/05/2011 04:30:46 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies winger Digby Ioane has denied he's on the verge of leaving Queensland for a massive deal in Japan, but will wait until after the Rugby World Cup to decide his future.

Tackle-busting Ioane on Saturday dismissed a News Ltd report that he'd wave sayonara to the Reds and Wallabies after this season and play for Japanese club Kubota alongside former teammate Hugh McMeniman.

The 11-Test flyer, in career-best form to be a key man in Queensland's Super Rugby march, admitted he couldn't juggle the pressure of contract talks while also producing on the field.

"It's all rumours," Ioane told AAP. "My main focus is playing good footy for the Reds.

"The worst thing you could do is be talking about contracts right now.

"I don't want it to get in the way of playing for the Reds or the Wallabies. Once I've got time to myself, I'll make my commitment."

The Reds are in the thick of the four-way race for hot property James O'Connor, but will almost certainly see the powerful, elusive Ioane an even more important commodity.

He showcased his ball-running skills with a man-of-the-match display in the pulsating 37-31 win over the Blues on Friday night to carry Queensland to top spot on the table.

All Blacks and Blues hooker Keven Mealamu highlighted what the Reds might miss when he rated Ioane among the hardest men to tackle.

"He's a game breaker, an elusive man," Mealamu said. "If you don't get a shot on him, he's going to put you under a lot of pressure. It's hard trying to play a guy like that. You don't know what you're going to get on the field."

A certain Test starter this year, Ioane stressed he would not weigh up offers until he could properly sit down and mull his future after the September-October RWC in New Zealand.

He admitted contract talks in 2007 - when he left the Western Force for the Reds, and 2009, when he passed up a chance to play with Kubota - took a toll.

"I don't want to go through that again," saidIoane.

"I don't know if I can handle the pressure when I'm playing footy. For me, it's footy first.

"I'll leave all that off-field business to my mum and my manager."

In 2009, it was Wallabies coach Robbie Deans who played a major role in Ioane re-signing, visiting his mother and sister in Melbourne and presenting a big-picture view of the then 23-year-old's career.

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie was aware of interest from cashed-up foreign clubs, but was comfortable in the knowledge Ioane loved playing for the table-topping Reds.

"There's a fair bit of interest in him for obvious reasons," McKenzie said. "I'm pretty confident through discussions I've had with him that if he's going to be in Australian rugby, he'll definitely be with the Reds.

"The big question is are there (overseas offers) too big to pass up?"

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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