Connacht snap up Rowland

Date published: July 14 2016

Connacht have announced the signing of Irish qualified outside back Josh Rowland.

New Zealand born Rowland, whose grandmother is from Dublin, has been in Ireland since April 2016 training and playing with the Ireland Sevens side.

He earned his first cap in the Olympic Repechage in Monaco last month and was part of the squad that went on a six-match winning run in Prague to win the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy at the beginning of July.

The 27-year-old, who can play full-back and wing, played on the same Counties Manukau side as Bundee Aki in 2012 when the pair were coached by Tana Umaga. In 2015, he was picked up by North Harbour and continued to compete in the ITM Cup. That same year, he captained the North Harbour Sevens side that made the finals of the Bayleys National Sevens tournament.

Rowland will join up with the Connacht Rugby squad in Galway next week.

"We became aware of Josh's availability as an Irish qualified player through his involvement with the Ireland sevens programme earlier this year. He 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," said head coach Pat Lam.

Rowland added: "I am delighted to have been given this opportunity by Connacht Rugby. Training and playing in Ireland the last few months has been fantastic and I've really enjoyed getting to know the players in the sevens set up.

"I’ve been playing both fifteens 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."