Connacht and the IRFU have announced the signing of young scrum-half James Mitchell on a two-year deal.
Mitchell is Irish qualified through his maternal grandmother who hails from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. The 22-year-old joins Connacht from Sale Sharks where he has played as a professional for the past three seasons.
Mitchell's first team debut for Sale came in an LV= Cup game against Worcester in January 2014. He has since played 20 times for the Premiership side, 12 of those during the last campaign.
The Maidstone-born player represented England at U16, U17 and U18 levels before being selected for their U20 Six Nations Squad in 2015. He played in all five games in that competition and subsequently went on to feature in all five matches at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy.
Commenting on the province's latest player signing, Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said: "We're delighted to be acquiring the services of a young Irish-qualified player like James. His signing highlights the potential of the new IRFU IQ programme when it comes to identifying Irish-qualified talent overseas.
"James comes with a great deal of experience from playing in the Premiership and we're excited to see what he will add to the squad and the scrum half position."
Mitchell added: "I'm really looking forward to moving over to Connacht. From speaking to a few people about the province, I'm really excited by the new challenge and I believe it is a great opportunity for me.
"I've been watching Connacht for a few seasons now and have been really taken by the exciting brand of rugby they play. Hopefully I can make a positive contribution to the team."