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Connacht Snap Up Burke And Promote Kerins To Professional Deal

Connacht Snap Up Burke And Promote Kerins To Professional Deal

Prop Rory Burke celebrates with Dan Goggin after the Munster 'A' team's British & Irish Cup final win over Ealing Trailfinders at Irish Independent Park in April 2017 ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Connacht Rugby have announced the signing of prop Rory Burke from English Championship club Nottingham ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Burke was previously capped for Munster in the GUINNESS PRO14 before joining Nottingham in 2017. The 25-year-old, who helped Munster ‘A’ to a British & Irish Cup title two years ago, has gone on to feature prominently for the English Championship side.

At international level, Burke was a regular for the Ireland Under-20s in 2014, playing in each of their Under-20 Six Nations games and in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship later that year in New Zealand where Ireland finished fourth overall.

Connacht have also confirmed that scrum half Stephen Kerins has become the latest player from the Connacht Academy to earn his first professional contract. The Sligo youngster made his Connacht debut in the Challenge Cup win away to Bordeaux-Begles during the pool stages in January.

Kerins, who turned 23 at the start of the month, was also previously capped for his country at Under-20 level. He featured in the Under-20 Six Nations Championship in 2016 and was part of the Ireland U-20 side that famously defeated New Zealand that summer and finished as World Rugby U-20 Championship runners-up in Manchester.

Connacht head coach Andy Friend commented:

We are delighted to add Rory Burke and Stephen Kerins to our squad ahead of our 2019/20 campaign. In the season just gone, squad depth was really important to our success in qualifying for the Champions Cup. With more big games ahead, that depth will be tested even further.

“Rory will give us another option up front, while Stephen’s graduation from the Academy will be needed to add to our list of scrum half options.”