Every day we’re shining a light on one of our newest arrivals over the summer, and help you get to know each of them before we return to the field later in the month.
Today it’s the turn of another Munster arrival, back rower Conor Oliver.
Welcome Conor how have your first few weeks been as a Connacht Rugby player?
It has been good, a new atmosphere and meeting new faces is always refreshing. Trying to remember the names wasn’t as hard because we started in small groups and I got to know the boys individually which is brilliant coming into a new environment. Usually, when you join a new team you are straight into a big squad and try to remember everyone's name and it can be awkward when you don’t know someone's name. I am doing well with names, I haven’t got any wrong so far. The training has been excellent, we have been pretty lucky with the weather which I was told can change very fast in The Sportsground. I am enjoying getting to know all the boys and coming into a new team means I am learning new things and get to challenge myself.
How have you found working with the coaches and S&C teams?
It’s brilliant, I am enjoying working with new coaches and seeing the different personalities and the way they work. I already feel like I can chat with the coaches normally and I am getting on well with them. I was in contact with the S&C team well before we started back, I received programmes from them to prepare me for the way they do things before getting back, this gave me confidence coming into the team as I knew I was doing the same things as the other guys. Nothing was thrown at me, it was more of a gradual step by step introduction and it was the same with coaches from the rugby side of things. As the weeks have gone by I have started to learn the style of rugby Connacht play. The restrictions have probably helped the new players more because it gave us a chance to learn everything step by step.
Was it tough waiting for pre-season to start knowing you’re joining a new club but at the same time going through lock-down and everything?
I didn’t mind it too much, I was laid back when it came to that stuff. I was more excited about it than anything else, I wasn’t nervous. It was more stressful setting my life up again and moving to a new house in a new city. Luckily, Connacht were able to help me find a house. I had been in Munster for so long since my Academy days and have never experienced another club at a professional level. I was excited about getting into the swing of things and seeing what the Connacht set up is like.
There’s a lot of competition for places in your position so I presume you’re all eager to impress ahead of the Interpros?
It's a healthy competition which you need in any squad, you can’t get complacent. Once complacency sets in performances can start to dip. There is plenty of back rows in the squad and I would welcome any competition, I enjoy it as I am a very competitive person. It makes it even better when you do get selected and you know the hard work you put in at training starts to pay off. There are some excellent back rows and I cannot wait to see what happens during the season and there is no doubt we will be all pushing each other on to become better players
What would like to achieve with Connacht?
I am an extremely ambitious person which is one of the reasons I signed with Connacht, you can see the potential, it’s a young team. Every player wants to lift a trophy at the end of the season, that will always be my ambition when I am playing. I want to work towards that step by step and build nicely into the new season. It is great having these Interpros to gauge where we are at as a team and to see what needs to be fixed. I have a massive ambition to win silverware which is a goal for all players. I want to make an impact and difference in Connacht and bring things that I feel would be valuable to the team. When I play for a team I give it my all and I will give it 100 percent.
Have you experienced much of Connacht and Galway since you got here?
I love Galway, I have always enjoyed coming here on weekend trips. I have always thought it was a great city and the atmosphere around here is amazing. I feel lucky to be able to move here and experience it, especially living out in Barna and having the sea right beside me. I am originally from Skerries in Dublin and grew up beside the sea. That was one thing I missed when I was in Limerick was that connection to the sea. It is brilliant to be able to come back from training and go for a swim in the evening even though it is freezing.
What is an interesting fact about you that the Connacht supporters would not know?
I have a British bulldog, it’s just been me and him the past two years. He is probably one of the things I love the most, he gets fed more than me most of the time. I might try have him as a mascot at one of the Connacht games, but we may struggle to find a jersey that fits him. I am an avid gamer too, when I am not playing rugby I will be glued to my PlayStation.