All Blacks star says ‘I put a Super Rugby title above a World Cup’ after Blues end 21-year trophy drought

All Blacks star says ‘I put a Super Rugby title above a World Cup’ after Blues end 21-year trophy drought Akira-and-Rieko-Ioane-Blues-SRP-final-2024-Alamy

All Blacks outside centre Rieko Ioane was in an emotional mood after the Blues clinched a 41-10 victory against the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Pacific final in Auckland on Saturday.

It was the Blues’ first full Super Rugby title win in 21 years as they last held the trophy aloft as champions in 2003 following earlier triumphs in 1996 and 1997.

They were also crowned Super Rugby Trans-Tasman winners in 2021 but that was a truncated version of the competition which was contested between the New Zealand and Australian franchises during the Covid-19 period.

Ioane is a born and bred Aucklander who has gone through numerous ups and downs with the Blues since he made his Super Rugby debut for the franchise in 20216 but nothing comes close to the high he experienced at Eden Park on Saturday.

“I put a Super Rugby title above a World Cup, because of how much I love this city, how much I love this club, how much I’ve admired this club,” he told Radio New Zealand.

What made the victory extra special for Ioane is that it happened on the occasion of his brother, Akira‘s final appearance for the Blues before he leaves to further his career in Japanese club rugby.

Caleb Clarke hat-trick powers Blues to their first Super Rugby title in 21 years

The Ioane brothers have spent their entire professional careers at the Blues and Akira’s influence at the club during that time is not lost on Rieko.

“Aki’s the man, bro. Not only a role model to me, but a role model to all the boys in here,” he said.

“During some of the rougher times at the start of our careers, Aki was the shining light at this club… to see him go out like this, it’s exactly what he is, a champion.”

The Blues dominated proceedings from start to finish in the final against the Chiefs and Ioane hailed his team-mates who came to the fore with a determined team effort.

“Waiting 20-something years for this, Aki’s last game, everything sort of added up,” he said.

“I’m just so proud of the boys. I talked about it at the start of the week, how we wouldn’t let emotion get the better of us this time. We came into this game knowing we were 100 percent confident – this was our time.”

READ MORE:All Black lock hailed for ‘inspirational’ shift after remarkable recovery to clinch Super Rugby Pacific title

  • https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/all-blacks-star-says-i-put-a-super-rugby-title-above-a-world-cup-after-blues-end-21-year-trophy-drought/ar-BB1oJb9D

Related

Corporate watchdog clears indigenous art centre

Corporate watchdog clears indigenous art centre

News
Old speech of Matthew McConaughey on gun reform resurfaces

Old speech of Matthew McConaughey on gun reform resurfaces

News
Bigger fines, new penalties for e-scooter riders

Bigger fines, new penalties for e-scooter riders

News
Game, party, bed, flight: 16 hours after Origin kick-off Brian To’o was still wearing his playing kit

Game, party, bed, flight: 16 hours after Origin kick-off Brian To’o was still wearing his playing kit

News
Fortescue restructure signals it is backing out of its green targets

Fortescue restructure signals it is backing out of its green targets

News
He died 106 years ago, but in one French village they’ll never forget this Australian Olympian

He died 106 years ago, but in one French village they’ll never forget this Australian Olympian

News
Game, party, bed, flight: 16 hours after Origin kick-off Brian To’o was still wearing his playing kit

Game, party, bed, flight: 16 hours after Origin kick-off Brian To’o was still wearing his playing kit

News
Right-wing ‘Project 2025’ mastermind sues for list of all medications handed out on Biden’s Air Force One

Right-wing ‘Project 2025’ mastermind sues for list of all medications handed out on Biden’s Air Force One

News