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Contract Extensions For Connacht Trio

Contract Extensions For Connacht Trio

Connacht Rugby have confirmed contract extensions for scrum half Frank Murphy, back rower Mata Fifita and centre Brian Murphy.

The latest deals make it 21 players who have committed their futures to the province in recent months.


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Frank Murphy had a frustrating season with Connacht having suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in the first away game away to Zebre back in September.

The injury resulted in the scrum half being sidelined for the remainder of the season, but Murphy has been working extremely hard in rehab for the last eight months and will be fighting fit for the beginning of pre-season in early June.


From Crosshaven, County Cork, Murphy joined Connacht in 2008 and is currently just four games shy of reaching the 100 caps milestone for the province.


The former UCC skipper, who has captained Connacht on a number of occasions, has penned a one-year deal with the westerners.


Mata Fifita has also put pen to paper on a one-year contract. The 24-year-old Tongan first signed for Connacht Rugby last summer when he was picked straight from Ulster Bank League club Sligo.


Despite a knee injury that kept him out of action for a number of weeks, Fifita played eleven games for Connacht this season, including two Heineken Cup fixtures, and also had a significant involvement with the Eagles side in this year’s British & Irish Cup.


Fifita came to Sligo at the beginning of the 2008 season when he played in the back row. He was soon tried in the centre – a transition he made with ease.

In Connacht’s last three games, however, the versatile player has been brought on from the bench to cover the back row and has once again proven himself in this position. He has re-signed for the province as a back row forward.


The final re-signing this season is centre Brian Murphy. The 27-year-old from Headford made his senior debut for Connacht against the Cardiff Blues, playing a superb role in the 26-22 win at Cardiff Arms Park – the first victory there in over 12 years.

He held on to that starting berth for the remaining six games of the season and his performances earned him the Player of the Month award for March.


Murphy joined Connacht last summer after his form with Ulster Bank League side Galwegians earned him a development contract with the province. He now progresses to a one year senior contract.


Commenting on the recent re-signings, Connacht CEO Tom Sears said: “We are very pleased that Frank, Mata and Brian will be with us next season and all have a significant role to play.

“Frank has endured a tough year with injury but will be desperate to make up for lost time. Mata and Brian enjoyed a good start to their careers with Connacht and have shown they have what it takes to make a real contribution to the squad and they will no doubt build on successful first seasons.”


The following 21 players have all signed new contracts with Connacht recently:


Rodney Ah You, Denis Buckley, Aaron Conneely, JP Cooney, Mata Fifita, Jason Harris-Wright, Matt Healy, David Heffernan, Robbie Henshaw, Michael Kearney, Ronan Loughney, Kieran Marmion, Eoin McKeon, David McSharry, Brian Murphy, Frank Murphy, George Naoupu, Miah Nikora, Danny Qualter, Michael Swift, Brett Wilkinson.


Connacht have thanked the following outgoing players for their contribution over the last number of seasons:


Thomas Anderson (Ealing Trailfinders RFC), David Gannon, Eoghan Grace (Plymouth RFC), Matthew Jarvis (Nottingham RFC), James Loxton, Mike McCarthy (Leinster), David Moore, Ethienne Reynecke, Fetu’u Vainikolo (Exeter Chiefs), Mark McCrea (Jersey).


Retired: Adrian Flavin, Johnny O’Connor.