The growing trend of players moving between the four provincial teams in Ireland is showing no signs of slowing down, with Connacht today confirming the signing of four players already in the Irish system. The Galway-based club have confirmed that Munster players Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver, and Leinster duo Jack Aungier and Oisin Dowling will all join Connacht from July 1st.
Munster have also confirmed that 22-year-old tighthead prop Roman Salanoa will join from Leinster on a two-year deal.
Arnold, Dowling and Aungier have all signed two-year contracts with Connacht, with the length of Oliver’s deal undisclosed.
Arnold, capped once by Ireland, will complete the rare feat of representing three of the Irish provinces.
Born in Surrey, the 24-year-old centre has played for both Ulster and Munster, winning Ulster’s Academy Player of the Year before moving south in 2016, where he won Munster’s Young Player of the Year award.
Oliver has made 28 appearances in the Munster back row since making his debut in February 2016, and was named Academy Player of the Year the following season.
Both Arnold and Oliver worked with Connacht attack coach Nigel Carolan while part of the Ireland squad at the the 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship.
Aungier and Dowling become the latest young prospects to leave Leinster’s highly competitive senior squad in search of more game-time.
Prop Aungier has made five appearances in the Guinness Pro14 since his debut last November, while Dowling has clocked up six appearances across the past two seasons.
Connacht head coach Andy Friend believes all four players can make significant contributions to his squad.
“In Sammy, Conor, Oisin and Jack we have secured the signings of four very talented and promising young Irish rugby players,” he said.
“They each have unique skillsets which will enhance our squad for next season and beyond, and will allow us to continue to grow as a program. We’re all looking forward to welcoming them to The Sportsground and integrating them into our playing squad.”
Connacht were sitting fourth in the Guinness Pro14 table when the league was suspended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, winning seven of their 13 games.
?? | Connacht Rugby are pleased to announce four new signings ahead of the new season ?
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) May 18, 2020
Meanwhile, Munster have announced the signing of tighthead prop Roman Salanoa on a two-year deal.
Hawaiinan-born Salanoa represented the USA U20s as an 18-year-old in 2016 and moved to Dublin the following year.
He has made three Pro14 appearances this season.
Munster head coach Johann van Graan said Salanoa is a promising prospect, while also thanking the departing Arnold and Oliver.
“We are delighted to add to our tighthead options with the signing of Roman. He is an exciting prospect and we look forward to welcoming him to the province.”
“I would like to thank Conor and Sammy for everything they have done for Munster Rugby.
“As two young hugely talented players they both have very bright futures ahead and we wish them every success.”
All the best to Sammy and Conor at Connacht and we're looking forward to welcoming Roman to Munster!#SUAF ?
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) May 18, 2020
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