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Ofisa Among Connacht’s Departing Players

Ofisa Among Connacht’s Departing Players

Connacht’s legendary flanker Ray Ofisa will leave the province at the end of the current season, it has been confirmed.

Ray Ofisa has been an integral part of the Connacht set-up since he joined in 2007 from North Otago in New Zealand.

An aggressive, dynamic ball-carrier, the 31-year-old forward is known throughout the RaboDirect PRO12 as one of the hardest hitting tacklers in the game.

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Although not the biggest member of the Connacht back row at 1.84m and 95kg, he regularly punches well above his weight.

A fans’ favourite and part of the fabric that has moulded the current Connacht team, Ofisa earned his 100th cap for Connacht against Benetton Treviso earlier this season.

He has been part of some of the biggest matches in the province’s history including the Heineken Cup pool match against Toulouse and South Africa’s visit in 2007.

He was unfortunate to miss Connacht’s clash against his native Samoa when they arrived in the Sportsground in 2010 and he will be fondly remembered by fans as one of the most unassuming gentlemen off the field and one of the province’s greatest competitors on it.

Speaking about the flanker’s departure, head coach Eric Elwood said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the hard work, commitment and respect that Ray has shown throughout his six years here at Connacht.

“He is one of the quietest men in the squad but once he crosses the whitewash he can turn a match in a flash with a moment of brilliance.

“In his time here he has really bought into the ethos of everything we are about and I know Ray considers Connacht a family away from home.

“It’s a credit to the man and his strength of character that even now he is finishing the season on a high and on behalf of myself, the management, the players and all our supporters I would like to wish Ray every success for the future.”

In addition to Ofisa’s departure the following five players have not been offered contracts by Connacht for the 2012/13 season – Henry Fa’afili, Dermot Murphy, Dylan Rogers, Jamie Stephens and Brian Tuohy.

Team manager Tim Allnutt added: “Following discussions with head coach Eric Elwood and his coaching team it was decided that these players would not be offered contracts for next season.

“On behalf of all at Connacht Rugby I would like to wish them all the very best of luck in their future careers and thank them for their professionalism and commitment whilst they were at Connacht.”