McKenzie: Ioane will remain a Red
August 20, 2011
Digby Ioane was a central figure for the Reds as they claimed the Super Rugby crown © Getty Images
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is confident that Australia winger Digby Ioane will re-sign with the reigning Super Rugby champions.
Ioane, who is currently with the Wallabies' Tri-Nations squad, is in negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union over a new contract after his previous deal came to an end following the Reds' triumph over the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final.
"We believe Queensland is the best environment for Digby to continue his career not only with the Reds, but with the Wallabies, and are confident he will choose to stay," McKenzie said.
The Reds coach was less clear about the long-term future of fullback Peter Hynes, who is struggling to recover from a knee injury that ruled him out of the majority of the Super Rugby season.
"Hynes is a major unknown at this stage considering the complexity of his surgery, so we're playing a waiting game until we have more clarity and can evaluate how his knee responds during rehab." McKenzie said.
"It's a complicated issue and our focus is on ensuring he gets back to a normal level of knee function. At this point in time he is a long way from us being able to consider him for rugby training."
McKenzie's comments came after the Reds unveiled a group of players that will be charged with defending the Reds' Super Rugby crown. The group includes academy graduates Jono Lance, Aidan Toua and David McDuling as well as Chris Feauai-Sautia, the highly rated 17-year-old.
The final selection of their 30-man squad will be made once Ioane's future has been cleared up, but McKenzie is already satisfied with their playing resources for next season.
"Player recruitment and retention has been a high priority since I came onboard at the Reds and to see such continuity with our 2011 squad is a major positive. Players want to stay in Queensland and be part of our journey," he said.
"We've got an extremely talented group of individuals but what makes this bunch so unique is their character, resolve and willingness to learn. The players are already speaking about next season and are determined to keep the trophy in Queensland."
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