Highlanders banking on Marty to replace All Black
NEWS: The Highlanders have turned to a journeyman to replace a departing All Black.
Marty Banks has been signed to replace All Blacks flyhalf Josh Ioane – who has been released from his contract with the Southern franchise.
He has gone from Buller to Russia, Tasman to Italy and Dunedin to Japan.
Veteran flyhalf Marty Banks has been playing all over the world and in 2022 Super Rugby Pacific.
Banks will again suit up for his beloved Highlanders.
The Highlanders fan favourite, Banks famously kicked the winning goal to lead the Highlanders to victory over the British and Irish Lions in 2017 and was a member of the 2015 Championship winning team.
A prolific point scorer throughout his career he is currently signed with the Southland Stags and his vast experience will make a welcome addition to the 2022 Highlanders squad.
Coach Tony Brown is delighted to secure the services of Banks.
“With Josh [Ioane] departing, we were looking for an experienced player in addition to Mitch Hunt who could kick goals and lead us around the park,” Brown said.
“We, of course, were well aware of Marty’s abilities and his early-round NPC Cup performances demonstrated that he still has the ability to perform the key pivot role.”
Banks himself is looking forward to the return.
“I returned from Japan with the hope that maybe I could pick up a Super Rugby contract and I am stoked that Brownie still has faith in me to do the job,” Banks said.
“I believe I am at a pretty good stage in my career, I know my own game well and hopefully I have enough experience to be able to make a real contribution to the way the Highlanders play and the squad in general.
“I can’t wait to get back under the roof in Dunedin, I’ve always enjoyed the place and the fans, so roll on 2022.”
The Highlanders have today released Josh Ioane from the last year of his contract to enable him to explore other opportunities.
As a club, we wish him well in the future! pic.twitter.com/NorZxL5clF
— Speight’s Highlanders (@Highlanders) August 30, 2021
* The Super Rugby franchise confirmed on social media that the 26-year-old Ioane will not be seeing out the last year of his contract.
The news comes on a day when the new 12-team Super Rugby Pacific tournament was confirmed.
Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika will join the best Australian and New Zealand rugby sides in the new-look competition from 2022.
In one of the graphics used to promote Super Rugby Pacific, Ioane can be seen a Moana Pasifika strip from last December.