Connacht Rugby can confirm that Bundee Aki will undergo surgery this week on an ongoing shoulder injury. The 27-year-old centre is expected to return in time for the start of the 2017/18 season.

Connacht Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that JP Cooney, Shane Delahunt, Steve Crosbie and Tom Farrell have all signed new contracts for the 2017/18 season.

With five seasons at the Sportsground under his belt, 27-year-old prop Cooney, who can play on both sides of the scrum, has further extended his stay. The Tipperary man featured in 22 games for the province this season and made his 50th appearance against Munster at Thomond Park earlier this month.

Delahunt made 11 appearances in his debut season as a member of the senior squad and started in the highly competitive number two jersey on four occasions. The 24-year-old, who graduated from the Connacht Academy last summer, now has 27 caps to his name. A former Kilkenny College captain, Delahunt represented Ireland at under-20 level in 2014.

24-year-old outhalf Crosbie, who can also play in midfield, joined Connacht in January of this year, following a short stint with Munster. The former Ireland U20’s player has featured in three PRO12 games for Connacht this year and kicked 17 points (six from six) in April’s 22-19 win away to Edinburgh.

The province has further boosted its options at midfield with the contract extension of 23-year-old Farrell. The former Bedford Blues player also joined the province in early 2017 and has made nine appearances since his arrival. Farrell has represented Ireland at U19 and U20 level.

Commenting on the latest contract news, Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said:

“Our squad is taking shape for next season and we’re delighted with the level of retention in the senior ranks. To have continuity up front in the shape of JP and Shane is a great boost and we are excited by what Steve and Tom can add to the squad having only joined us earlier in the year.

“Recruitment remains ongoing as we look to finalise the makeup of our squad for next season.”

Connacht Rugby can also confirm that senior players Conor Carey, Dominic Robertson-McCoy and Stacey Ili have had the second year on their current contracts activated and will remain at the Sportsground for the 2017/18 season.

31 man Ireland squad named for Tour of US and Japan

 The Ireland coaching group has named a 31-man squad for the three Test summer tour of the USA and Japan in June.

Connacht’s Dave Heffernan and John Cooney are two of eight uncapped players selected for the Summer Tour. Finlay Bealham, Kieran Marmion and Tiernan O’Halloran have also been included.

Ireland’s first game of the Summer Tour takes place against the US Eagles at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Saturday 10th June.  The squad then flies to Japan for two Tests against the RWC19 hosts who have been drawn in Pool A alongside Ireland at the World Cup.  The first Test takes place at the Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka on Saturday 17th June with the final Test of the tour being held at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday 24th June.

Ireland Head Coach, Joe Schmidt, commented, “With eleven players due to tour with the British and Irish Lions, plus a number of injuries to experienced internationals, the summer tour squad includes plenty of youth.

“There is a real freshness to the group, including the coaching staff, so we’re looking forward to what will be a very challenging summer tour.”

We have retained a sprinkling of experienced players, some of whom may yet be called up to the Lions, but the focus is really on challenging the younger players to cope with the heat and foreign conditions as well as the speed and physicality of test rugby.”

One further player will be added to the squad following the weekend’s provincial fixtures.

The tour will also see three young Irish coaches spend time with the national team.  Racing 92′s Ronan O’Gara will accompany the team for the New Jersey leg of the tour with Leinster’s Girvan Dempsey with the group for the first week in Japan and Munster’s Felix Jones working with the team for the final week of the tour in Tokyo.

Ireland Squad Summer Tour 2017 – USA & Japan

Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 6 caps
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 3 caps
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 1 cap
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 1 cap
John Cooney (Connacht) uncapped
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 59 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 67 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) uncapped
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 23 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 17 caps
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 13 caps
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster) 9 caps
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap
Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps
Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) 1 cap
Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3 caps
Rory O’Loughlin (Old Belvedere/Leinster) uncapped
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) uncapped
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 8 caps
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 13 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) uncapped
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 6 caps
Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 4 caps
Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) uncapped
Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) uncapped
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 47 caps
James Tracey (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster) uncapped
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 7 caps
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 33 caps

Ireland Squad Summer Tour 2017 – USA & Japan Fixtures

USA v IRELAND
Saturday 10th June, 2017, KO 17:00 (GMT 22:00)
Red Bull Arena, New Jersey, USA

Japan v IRELAND
Saturday 17th June, 2017 KO 14:00 (GMT 06:00)
Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka, Japan

Japan v IRELAND
Saturday 24th June, 2017 KO 14:40 (GMT 06:40)
Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo, Japan

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