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Connacht sign former New Zealand sevens centre Pita Ahki

The 25-year-old arrives from Waikato.

Ahki in action for the Blues in 2015.
Ahki in action for the Blues in 2015.
Image: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE MOVED quickly to find a replacement signing for Eroni Vasiteri after announcing the capture of former New Zealand sevens player Pita Ahki.

The 25-year-old joins the western province from Mitre 10 Cup side Waikato having previously had spells in Super Rugby with the Blues and Hurricanes.

Ahki’s arrival at the Sportsground offsets the loss of Vasiteri, whose move to Galway fell through when the Fijian centre received a nine-week suspension for eye-gouging.

Ahki, a World Cup sevens medal winner with the All Blacks in 2013, first rose to prominence with North Harbour before moving to the Blues, where he made 13 appearances.

He spent last year with the Hurricanes but failed to make the breakthrough and was snapped up by Kieran Keane’s former club Waikato.

The strong and pacy centre bolsters Keane’s midfield resources ahead of a crucial block of fixtures with Peter Robb sidelined until December and Bundee Aki expected to be involved in next month’s November internationals.

“Pita is a highly-rated young player who has played Super Rugby for the Blues and the Hurricanes,” Keane said.

“He is a strong pacey player who will add to our attacking options. I think he will fit in well at Connacht and I am delighted to be welcoming him to the province.”

On his move to Connacht, the Auckland native added: “I am really excited about my move to Connacht. I am looking forward to the prospect of playing European and Pro14 rugby.

“Connacht have developed a huge reputation as a proud club with community central to everything they do. I can’t wait to join up with the squad and meet the Sportsground crowd.”

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