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Connacht's three loans become permanent

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Connacht say cheers to rival provinces as loan hat-trick turns into three permanent deals

Connacht have secured the signatures of three more players for the 2019/20 season, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald and Angus Lloyd all agreeing contracts to stay with the province following loan deals during the current campaign.

Movement between the provinces in Ireland used to be a rare occurrence, but IRFU high performance boss David Nucifora told players they should be more flexible when he arrived into his job in 2014.

That has left to a change in thinking and Connacht’s latest piece of business is further evidence that a short-term change can lead to a long-term gain.

Daly joined from Leinster and made his debut in the interprovincial derby with Munster at the start of January. The centre has since gone on to make six further appearances, scoring a try against Glasgow in February. Daly was previously capped for Ireland at under-20s level and is also a former Ireland sevens captain.

Stephen Fitzgerald, whose brother Conor who signed his first professional contract with Connacht this week, made his debut in the interpro win over Ulster at the end of 2018. Like Daly, he has featured seven times in total and also scored a try against Glasgow. At international level, the winger has featured for the Ireland under-20s.

Meanwhile, Lloyd joined on a short-term contract in December 2018, providing injury cover at scrum-half and playing twice for the province in that time. He has previously been capped by Ulster and Munster in PRO14.

Coach Andy Friend said: “We are delighted with the contribution Tom, Stephen and Angus made to our squad during the current season. All three came into the squad at a time when we needed cover due to injuries and international call-ups and all three have fitted in seamlessly to our squad.

“They are three important additions to our plans for next season. This is further good news on our squad having signed three players from our academy earlier in the week.

“I am happy with our recruitment programme so far for next season and we expect to make further announcements before our squad is finalised.”

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Connacht say cheers to rival provinces as loan hat-trick turns into three permanent deals