Connacht's latest Kiwi recruit is a former teammate of Bundee Aki
Pat Lam's Kiwi phone-book comes up trumps again.
Connacht have announced the signing of 27-year-old Irish qualified back Josh Rowland.
The New Zealander, who's grandmother is from Dublin, has been in Ireland since April 2016 training and playing with the Ireland Sevens. He was registered as a Connacht player upon arrival. He earned his first cap in the Olympic Repechage in Monaco last month.
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) July 14, 2016
Rowland, who can can play fullback and wing, played on the same Counties Manukau side as Bundee Aki in 2012 when the pair were coached by Tana Umaga. He played ITM Cup rugby with North Harbour, last year, and captained their Sevens team. He commented:
"I’ve been playing both 15’s and Sevens rugby all my life and I love the challenge of both. I feel I’m in a good place fitness-wise after an intense few weeks with the sevens so I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running at Connacht and putting in some good pre-season work.
"It’s a huge opportunity for me as a player and I want to make the most of it and do what I can for the team."
Pat Lam expressed his delight at signing up such a versatile, pacy player for what is shaping up to be a bust 2016/17. The Kiwi said:
"Josh has had a good few months with the sevens set up and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can add to our back three options at Connacht as we prepare for a huge season ahead in both the PRO12 and Champions Cup."
If Rowland has half the impact of Aki, or last year's surprise signing AJ MacGinty, Connacht will be well set for another strong season.