Connacht Rugby have further boosted their options for next season with the signing of versatile, Irish-qualified South African Shayne Bolton.
Bolton, whose grandmother is from Dublin, will arrive at Connacht with a reputation as one of the brightest young prospects in South African rugby.
The 20-year old represents the University of Free State in the Varsity Cup and also impressed in the Under-21 SA Championship.
A powerful and skillful ball carrier, his ability to play at centre and anywhere across the back-three will be a major boost to Andy Friend’s side heading into next season.
Head coach Friend has explained how the move came about, stating: “After we learned of Shayne’s availability and his Irish ancestry, we kept an eye on his progression and did some further work to confirm his playing ability.
“It quickly became apparent that he was the type of player that could add real value to our squad. He has been turning heads in South Africa with his recent performances.
“And while he’s still only 20-years of age, he has all the attributes to become a top class professional player.
“Players with versatility are a key component we look for in our squad mix, and Shayne fits that category perfectly.
“He started off at full-back and on the wing before moving to centre in the last year or two, so we’re looking forward to his arrival and seeing how best to integrate him into the squad.”
Bolton says Connacht is the perfect place to begin his professional career, revealing: “After numerous chats with Andy and Tim (Allnutt), I knew this was an opportunity I had to take.
“They spoke about how they pride themselves in developing players and I immediately felt that Connacht was the right place to take my game to the next level. I can’t wait to reconnect with my Irish roots and get ready for the season ahead.”
Connacht’s recruitment remains ongoing and further announcements will be made in due course.