Connacht today announced the signing of Ireland Sevens international Josh Rowland.
New Zealand-born Josh Rowland, whose grandmother is from Dublin, has been in Ireland since April training and playing with the Ireland Sevens squad.
He earned his first cap in the Olympic Repechage in Monaco last month and was part of the squad that went on a six-match winning run in Prague to win the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy at the beginning of July.
The 27-year-old, who can play at full-back and on the wing, played on the same Counties Manukau side as Bundee Aki in 2012 when the pair were coached by Tana Umaga.
In 2015, he was picked up by North Harbour and continued to compete in the ITM Cup. That same year, he captained the North Harbour Sevens side that made the finals of the Bayleys National Sevens tournament.
Josh will join up with the Connacht squad in Galway next week. Commenting on the new signing, Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: “We became aware of Josh’s availability as an Irish-qualified player through his involvement with the Ireland Sevens programme earlier this year.
“He has had a good few months with the Sevens set-up and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can add to our back-three options at Connacht as we prepare for a huge season ahead in both the PRO12 and Champions Cup.”
Rowland added: “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity by Connacht Rugby. Training and playing in Ireland the last few months has been fantastic and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the players in the Sevens set-up.
“I’ve been playing both 15s and Sevens rugby all my life and I love the challenge of both. I feel I’m in a good place fitness-wise after an intense few weeks with the Sevens, so I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running at Connacht and putting in some good pre-season work.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me as a player and I want to make the most of it and do what I can for the team.”