Connacht locks pen new deals

Date published: March 8 2016

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Connacht have confirmed the contract extensions of lock forwards Andrew Browne and Ben Marshall.
 
Browne, a product of the Connacht Academy, is currently in his 10th season with his native province. The Galway man made his senior debut against Cardiff in April 2007, the same year he represented Ireland U20's in their Six Nations Grand Slam success. 

He has since racked up 136 appearances across both European and PRO12 competitions and was one of nine players to travel to Tsbisli as part of the Emerging Ireland squad in the summer.
 
Another promising player on that same Emerging Ireland tour was second row Ben Marshall who had just signed with Connacht from Leinster. In his first season at the Sportsground, the 25-year-old suffered two arm injuries that kept his game time limited but last month he returned to start in both victories over Zebre and Ospreys.
 
Commenting on the recent contract extensions, Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said: "We're delighted that Andrew and Ben will remain an integral part of our senior playing squad going forward.
 
"We're at a very exciting time in the season with so many important games to come but we are very pleased with our retention plan and feel our squad is certainly taking shape for next season."
 
Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: "Browney (Andrew Bronwe) is a very experienced member of our forward pack who myself and Jimmy (Duffy) believe can still take his game to another level. We're pleased he will continue that process and commitment with his home province.
 
"Ben has been unfortunate with injury in his first season with us but we have been impressed with his professional attitude and hunger to improve. We also believe he has the ability to progress his game further.
 
"There is really good competition in the second row position and the hard work that Browney and Ben put in will help the continued success and growth of our forward pack."
 
Browne is happy to extend his stay with the PRO12 leaders.
 
"It is always a privilege for me to play for my home province so I'm delighted to be staying on for another couple of seasons," he said.

"We have a strong squad that is only getting better and better and it's a really exciting time to be involved. Connacht Rugby is unrecognisable from when I started out 10 years ago. But I am proud to have been here all that time and to know where we have come from and where we can go to now."
 
Ben Marshall expressed his delight at his new contract. 
 
"While I've been disappointed with injury, I've really enjoyed my first season at Connacht Rugby and getting to know the coaches, players and set up here," he explained. 

"It was so great to play in those few games at the Sportsground and I'm looking forward to experiencing that again.
 
"There is certainly a lot of competition in the squad, particularly among the second rows but I'm hoping to build on my performances from last month and put my hand up for selection for what is a really exciting run to the end of the season."

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