Pewhairangi joins Connacht

Date published: June 19 2015

Connacht have announced the signing of Ireland-qualified Api Pewhairangi from rugby league.

Pewhairangi played rugby union as a youth in Manawatu but switched to league at the age of 17, when he moved to Wellington's Te Aroha Eels. He has since played for Parramatta Eels and, most recently, NZ Warriors in the NRL.

Pewhairangi, whose grandmother was from Lucan, Co. Dublin, represented Ireland in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. He had previously represented the Junior Kiwis.

Speaking about his move to Connacht Rugby, Pewhairangi said: "I am proud to be returning to Ireland, my grandmother's homeland. Joining Connacht is extremely exciting for me and I want to make a big impact."

Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane added: "Api Pewhairangi is an exciting addition to the squad. Api was incredibly proud to wear the green shirt of Ireland in the Rugby League World Cup and I have no doubt that he will wear the green shirt of Connacht with the same pride."

Head Coach Pat Lam said: "At 23, Api has already achieved a lot on and off the field. He has played in the tough NRL competition, represented Ireland in the 2013 rugby League World Cup and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree. He is keen for a new challenge in transitioning back to rugby union where he spent his youth playing.

"With our big focus on skill development and continued learning and understanding of the game here at Connacht I have no doubt he will have a great opportunity to meet his challenge head on. His professional rugby league experience will add another skillset to the squad and we look forward to him joint the squad for preseason."