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Connacht sign up Nottingham prop

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Connacht swing by Nottingham to bring home an Irish tighthead

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

Burke was previously capped for Munster in the PRO14 championship before joining Nottingham in 2017. The 25-year-old has gone on to feature prominently for the English side.

At international level, Burke represented Ireland at under-20 level, playing in each of Ireland’s Six Nations games at that age-grade in 2014 and in the IRB World Championship later that year.

Connacht have also confirmed that scrum-half Stephen Kerins has become the latest player from their academy to earn his first professional contract.

The Sligo man made his Connacht debut in the European Challenge Cup win away to Bordeaux in January. Kerins was also previously capped for his country at under-20 international level as he featured in that level’s Six Nations championship in 2016.

Commenting on the latest additions to the Connacht squad, coach Andy Friend said: “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.”

Connacht reached the quarter-finals of both the Challenge Cup and PRO14 in Friend’s first season at a club where he see much scooper for further growth.

“On day one, the first thing that hit was that we had a really honest group,” he said prior to their season-ending league loss to Ulster.

“We had a very competent coaching, management group and then when the players turn up you could see that they were all eyes open and they wanted to learn.

“And they were good. I remember the first skills sessions we did and I thought ‘there’s some quality here, this is good’.

“Life is about timing and the timing was pretty good. I walked into a group where there was a lot of talent and ability and just tried to help steer it.”

WATCH: Part five of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary on the Leicester Tigers

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Connacht swing by Nottingham to bring home an Irish tighthead