Connacht Rugby and the IRFU are delighted to confirm the contract extensions of young Connacht players Sean O’Brien, James Connolly, Peter Robb and Caolin Blade. The four Academy graduates, who are part of the senior set up this season, will continue to play at the Sportsground until at least the summer of 2018.

In addition, 22-year-old Ukrainian-born prop Ivan Soroka has accepted a professional contract for 2016/17 having been on trial during the summer from Clontarf RFC.

Commenting on the latest deals, CEO Willie Ruane said:

“This is a hugely positive move for Connacht Rugby and the squad we are looking to build for the future. Obviously Connacht-born players like Sean (O’Brien) and Caolin (Blade) are a big part of our vision of Grassroots to Green Shirts. Having also come through the Academy, we are very happy with the progression of Peter (Robb) and James (Connolly) to the senior squad this season and feel that they will continue to contribute positively to the team and environment here.”

Head Coach Pat Lam added:

“I have always said that retention is a very important part of what we do. It is vital that we hold on to young players like these who have come through our Academy to the senior set up and demonstrated that they have the talent and the right attitude to perform on and off the pitch. These four young men certainly showed their potential by playing a big part in the success of last season

“Ivan (Soroka) has also been offered a contract for the season. Like Niyi (Adeolokun) a few years ago, we gave him a chance to come straight in from club rugby on a trial and he has shown that he has the potential and drive to succeed in a professional set up. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

Sean O’Brien
Back Row/Lock
Age: 21
From: Galway
Connacht caps: 20

James Connolly
Back Row
Age: 23
From: Kildare
Connacht caps: 20

Peter Robb
Age: 22
From: Dublin
Connacht caps: 19

Caolin Blade
Age: 22
From: Galway
Connacht caps: 24

Ivan Soroka
Age 22
From: Kiev, Ukraine
Connacht caps: 0


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