New contract for Bealham

Date published: August 19 2016

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Connacht and the IRFU have announced the contract extension of Ireland international prop Finlay Bealham until at least the end of 2018/19.

The 24-year-old was first capped for Ireland in this year's Six Nations.

Bealham earned a contract with the Connacht Academy following his performances with the Ireland U20s in the 2011 Six Nations and Junior World Championship. He made his PRO12 debut when he came on from the bench away to Zebre in February 2014.

The Australian-born, former rugby league player, whose grandmother is from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, graduated to a senior contract under Pat Lam ahead of the 2014/15 season and has since racked up 57 appearances. Last season, Bealham, who can play on both sides of the scrum, was the only player to feature for Connacht in all 31 games across the PRO12 and Challenge Cup.

"Finlay is coming off the back of a very successful season with both Ireland and Connacht and I'm very pleased for us and our supporters that he will be with us for the next three seasons," said Lam.

"From day one, I've been impressed with Finlay's attitude and desire to continuously learn on and off the pitch. He is a real team man and extremely popular among our squad.

"As a young, versatile front-row player, he has a lot to offer our team as we head into another challenging but exciting campaign in both the Guinness PRO12 and European Champions Cup."

Bealham added: "It was a fairly straightforward decision for me to sign on with Connacht. This place has become home for me over the last five years and I'm loving my rugby here. It's been a great few years, with last season an obvious stand out. Pulling on the Ireland jersey in the same season as winning the Guinness PRO12 with my team mates will live long in the memory.

"I can't wait to get back into it now in a few weeks' time and I'm confident we can go on to achieve more and more as a team."

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