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6'5 ex-rugby prospect set for leading role in new Game of Thrones spin-off

By Ian Cameron
Peter Claffey during Connacht Rugby squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. (Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

A former Irish rugby player is set to take the leading role in a new Game of Thrones spin-off. Ex-Connacht rugby player Peter Claffey is set to star in ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight,’ an upcoming prequel series to “Game of Thrones” by HBO.

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The series will adapt George R.R. Martin’s ‘Tales of Dunk and Egg’ novellas, set in the same universe as his renowned “Game of Thrones” books.

This role in a series marks a significant step in Claffey’s acting journey.

Claffey had a promising rugby career before turning to acting. A product of Galwegians RFC and a former student of Garbally College, Claffey distinguished himself as an amateur before breaking into the Connacht Academy.

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The then 6’5, 119kg forward represented Connacht at various age-grade levels, where he played primarily as a lock, but fell short of winning a cap for Connacht before leaving the sport.

“I worked my ass off and tried to prove myself every single day especially when it became clear that I was never going to be on the teamsheet for the weekend. That was tough,” said Claffey in an interview with Rugby Players Ireland back in 2020. “I definitely thought there was a cap in me. The fact I didn’t get it was the hardest part of being let go last year but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles…”

Having shed several kilos of muscle mass, Claffey transitioned into acting, leaving behind the rugby field for the stage and screen. It’s been an inspired career choice.

He made his professional stage debut at the renowned Abbey Theatre in 2022. His burgeoning career quickly gathered momentum, securing roles in the television shows Bad Sisters and Harry Wild. The Irish actor’s trajectory continues upward with notable upcoming projects including the drama movie Small Things Like These featuring Cillian Murphy, and a role in season three of the Netflix series Vikings: Valhalla.

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Connacht tweeted yesterday: “Incredible news for our former player Peter Claffey, who’s been cast in a leading role in the Game of Thrones prequel! Congrats Peter from all of us in the club. Don’t forget your rugby roots when you’re famous.”

 

There’s no doubting the success of the franchise he’s entering. Game of Thrones has amassed significant revenue over its original eight-season run, reportedly generating billions of dollars in revenue.

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