Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have announced the signing of Dublin-born second row Gavin Thornbury on a two-year deal.
Gavin Thornbury, who is 23-years-old, recently spent six months in New Zealand where he initially joined club side Border on the North Island.
Having helped Border to title glory in the Wanganui premier club competition, the former Ireland Under-20 forward earned a place in the Wanganui provincial representative team, who play in the Heartland Championship – the tier below New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup. The 6ft 7in lock was part of the Wanganui team that won the Meads Cup last October.
Thornbury’s successful stint in New Zealand came after his first season as a professional with Leinster which was unfortunately affected by injury.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “We’re delighted to have Gavin joining us next season. He is a young Irish lock who has huge potential and has shown his desire to succeed at this level by taking a chance with his move to New Zealand where he did very well.”
The province’s forwards coach Jimmy Duffy added: “We are delighted to be adding Gavin to our squad for next season. He is someone we have been monitoring over the past number of seasons. Gavin is a strong set piece operator, has a huge appetite for work and has shown an eye for scoring opportunities. We are looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the province.”
Thornbury, a product of the Leinster Academy who has also played with UCD in the Ulster Bank League, commented: “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to play with Connacht Rugby. The exciting brand of rugby is hugely attractive and I very much hope to build on my experience to date – particularly from New Zealand. I look forward to making a positive contribution to the province’s continued success over the next few years.”