Connacht's pre-season regime got underway this morning in balmy conditions in Galway, with a number of new signings taking part in the fitness tests.
Squad newcomers Shane O'Leary, Ian Porter and Niyi Adeolokun reported to the Sportsground where they collected some new BLK kit, met their new team-mates, and underwent a comprehensive day of testing with Connacht's medical and conditioning teams.
A number of players away on international duty with different representative squads will join up with their provincial team-mates in July, while New Zealanders Mils Muliaina, Bundee Aki and Tom McCartney are expected to arrive at different stages starting in late August.
The core group of players present today were required to report for duty at 7.30am to undergo a thorough examination consisting of strength and power testing, body composition, physiotherapy screening and fitness assessments.
The first of the two-day testing concluded with the annual 1.2km run at the Dangan track in NUI Galway where specific targets are set out for each player. Senior fitness coach Jim Molony was satisfied that all the players conquered and even surpassed their individual target times.
On Friday the players will be put through their paces again with more power and strength testing in the morning followed by a Yo-Yo test in the afternoon.
It has been confirmed that Connacht centre Dave McSharry suffered a grade 2 PCL tear to his knee during a recent training session. Recovery time for the 25-year-old is likely to be from eight to ten weeks.
Speaking to Rob Murphy after Connacht's PRO12 victory over the Dragons, head coach Pat Lam said: "There are some things to learn from, but we're pleased to start with a win. When you consider nine in that starting group are under 23, it's good to see some of those talented guys get a chance - particularly the new ones."
Irish Rugby TV ventured west to cover the launch of Mazda's continued support of Connacht Rugby. We hear from new arrival and Mazda Ambassador Mils Muliaina, Kieran Marmion, Jake Heenan and former captain Gavin Duffy.
Looking forward to the new GUINNESS PRO12 season, Connacht captain John Muldoon said: "We've a lot of younger guys who have big years ahead of them and a few big name signings who will hopefully be able to fit into the system and work hard among the ethos of Connacht Rugby."
Irish Rugby TV was at the launch of the GUINNESS PRO12 and we caught up with Jamie Heaslip, Pat Lam, John Muldoon, Matt O'Connor and Rory Sheridan of Diageo as the new sponsor gets ready to kick off an exciting season.
Speaking during Connacht's training trip to Ballinrobe RFC, captain John Muldoon said: "It's great to see the jerseys and the people coming out to support us today. Long may it continue because we're not a Galway team, we're a Connacht team and that's what we want to push and that's why we come out on these days out."
Young hooker David Heffernan, who extended his current deal with Connacht in April, enjoyed a trip back to his native Mayo as Pat Lam's men held an open training session at Ballinrobe RFC earlier this week.
Rob Murphy caught up with Connacht head coach Pat Lam after their bonus point win at home to Benetton Treviso. The westerners have been in resurgent form of late, picking up three straight league victories and 14 points from a possible 15.