Connacht Rugby have recruited USA international out-half AJ MacGinty for the 2015/16 season.
AJ MacGinty started three of the USA’s Pool B fixtures in the Rugby World Cup and despite a winless campaign, the 25-year-old kicked 25 points for the Eagles to bring his tally to 90 in eight Test appearances.
The Dubliner moved to New York in 2012 where he played for NYAC before moving to Marietta, Georgia to pursue a Masters in Exercise and Sports Science later that year. In Georgia he played for Life University Men’s Club until gaining eligibility for the Eagles in February of this year.
MacGinty earned his first call-up to the Eagles for the Eagle Selects’ tour of South America in April. His first cap came against Samoa in the opening round of the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup in which he played the full 80 minutes at out-half, kicking 11 of his side’s 16 points.
The creative play-maker, at one time a scrum half, played schools rugby with Blackrock College. He then moved into the club game with Blackrock College RFC’s Academy and also featured for the Stradbrook club’s first team
MacGinty met with his new Connacht team-mates at the Sportsground in Galway today and will join full training with the squad on Tuesday.
Commenting on the new signing, the province’s CEO Willie Ruane said: “We’re delighted to welcome AJ to Connacht Rugby. He has made a name for himself as a young Irishman playing for USA in the Rugby World Cup but has been doing very well in the States for the past few years and we are very pleased that he will strengthen our options at out-half.”
Head coach Pat Lam added: “As a young Irish player playing abroad, AJ has been on our radar for quite some time now and we have been watching his games closely since he first played in the PNC during the summer.
“His performances in the Rugby World Cup were impressive and we’re very pleased that he’s now joining Connacht Rugby. AJ adds to our options at out-half and we expect him to bring with him his experience of playing at the highest level.
“His skill-set compliments our game and he has shown that he can execute the basics of kicking and passing in high pressure situations. I had the chance to meet him properly last week and discuss his future. He’s an extremely ambitious and determined young man when it comes to his continued development as a rugby player.
“That lined up with our own programme and what we are doing here at Connacht Rugby so we are really excited to have him on board and we know that he will add a great deal to our environment.”
Commenting from the Sportsground today, MacGinty said: “I am very happy to join Connacht for the season ahead. This is a great opportunity for me to develop as a player under the tutelage of Pat and his impressive coaching team. I can’t wait to get started.”