Analysing Connacht’s new arrivals

Connacht have started their transfer business early ahead of next season, with six signings already confirmed ahead of next season.

While adding depth is a key priority for Connacht, and Andy Friend known for his clever recruitment, here is who Connacht fans can look forward to watching next season.

Josh Murphy

Able to play in both the second and back-row, Murphy will add huge experience to Connacht. The 27-year-old has made 56 appearances for provincial rivals Leinster and would have had more if it was not for injuries and competition.

With Connacht gaining Murphy’s experience, and the Wexford man more likely to see regular game time, this is a move that will benefit both parties.

Experienced lock Ultan Dillane is leaving the province to join La Rochelle, so Murphy could prove to be a clever signing.

Peter Dooley

Similar to Murphy, Dooley will add huge experience to a Connacht side that has struggled against more experienced opposition this season.

Dooley has made over 100 appearances for Leo Cullen’s side, with injuries and competition through his time at Leinster restricting his playing time. He was also part of the Ireland squad in last summer’s internationals but failed to make an appearance.

As Andrew Porter moved to loosehead prop this season, and Cian Healy and Ed Byrne ahead of Dooley in the pecking order, this is the right time to move to Connacht.

Adam Byrne

Having burst on the scene in 2016, Adam Byrne’s career has somewhat stalled. A combination of injuries and form has seen his opportunities with Leinster limited.

Prior to his comeback in November, the 27-year-old winger was ruled out for 22 months. Unfortunately for Byrne, injuries have been his biggest challenge in his career.

 24 tries in 64 appearances for the province, and one cap for Ireland in 2017, there is no doubting Byrne’s talent.

If Byrne can remain injury free, he will be keen to remind everyone what he is capable of with Connacht.

David Hawkshaw

A star of the Ireland U20s Grand Slam side in 2019, Hawkshaw was tipped for a bright future in the years ahead.

However, like many players on this list, injuries have been his biggest enemy. The 22-year-old has suffered a serious knee injury in March 2019 that saw him ruled out for 19 months.

Limited to just 10 appearances for the blues, Hawkshaw showed Connacht what they have to look forward to next season, scoring 13 points against Friend’s side, including a try.

Able to cover both fly-half and centre, Hawkshaw will add some much-needed depth and creativity in both positions.

Byron Rolston

Connacht have continued their trend of looking to Southern Hemisphere rugby for signings, with Irish-qualified Byron Rolston the latest to move to Galway.

The 21-year-old is currently playing his rugby with Australian side Western Force. Mack Hansen and John Porch are the prime examples of imports that have come in and showed what they have to offer.

A former Australia U20 international, Rolston has five tries in 14 Super Rugby appearances.

Shamus Hurley-Langton

A back row that is playing most of his rugby at number 8, Hurley-Langton is currently playing with New Zealand side Manawatu turbos.

With Abraham Papali’I moving to Brive at the end of the season, Hurley-Langton will provide some needed cover. At 21-years-old, he is clearly one for the future.

Despite his name, he is not Irish qualified.  

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