The Connacht squad for the 2013/14 season was completed earlier this week with the arrival of new recruit James So’oialo.
Samoan international James So’oialo arrived in Galway on Monday and was straight up to the Sportsground to meet his new team-mates and coaches.
“It’s my first time in Ireland and I think it’s pretty cool,” said the 24-year-old. “When I stepped off the plane on Monday, it was blue skies and hot so that was a surprise, from what I’d been told about over here.
“I met all the boys on Monday and was keen to get right into training, but I had a long trip over so had to rest up a bit. I’m back into it today though which is great.
“I had been keeping up with Connacht’s progress online from New Zealand so it’s great to finally be here, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in right away.”
So’oialo played for Samoa in the 2011 Rugby World Cup and just a few months ago he was involved in their summer tour to South Africa. He started at full-back in both Test matches against Scotland and South Africa.
As part of their northern Hemisphere tour for 2013, Samoa will first play Ireland on Saturday, November 9, followed by the French Barbarians and Georgia.
“I’ll hopefully be involved in the November tour with Samoa. It would be fantastic to play in the Aviva (Stadium) and to meet up with all the boys again.”
Connacht head coach Pat Lam, who has worked with So’oialo in Samoa, said: “It’s fantastic to finally have James here after some delays in getting his permit.
“He wanted to train first thing on Monday, but we only allowed him to do some weights after his long flight. He’s in good nick and we expect him to be available for selection next week.
“James is a superb utility back who can play all positions but half-back and he can kick goals from up to 60 metres out.
“He brings his international experience from playing with Samoa and he has a massive utility factor. With a long season and demands on our squad, it’s huge for us to have someone who can go right through that back-line.”