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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 15 May 2021

Munster's Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver set for moves to Connacht

The 24-year-old centre and back row have struggled for game time in recent seasons.

MUNSTER CENTRE SAMMY Arnold and back row Conor Oliver are set to join Connacht  ahead of next season.

The42 understands the pair are close to securing deals that would ensure they make the move to Galway when professional rugby resumes in Ireland.

24-year-old Arnold was capped by Ireland under Joe Schmidt as recently as 2018 against the US but has seen struggled for game time in Munster recently due to injuries and selection decisions.

munsters-sammy-arnold Arnold has one Ireland cap. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

The powerful centre originally played for Ulster after coming through the IRFU’s Exiles programme but opted for a move to Munster in 2016 and has played for the province 44 times.

He will add to Connacht’s depth in midfield, while flanker Oliver will do the same in the back row.

24-year-old Oliver is a former Ireland U20 international who shone for Skerries RFC before moving to Blackrock College for sixth year and helping the Dublin school to win the 2014 Leinster Schools Senior Cup.

With Leinster opting against offering him an academy place, Oliver instead joined the Munster set-up in 2015 and progressed on to make his senior debut in February 2016. 

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Oliver featured regularly for Munster in the 2016/17 season under Rassie Erasmus, making 14 appearances in the Pro14, but has seen his level of exposure decline in the three campaigns since.

conor-oliver Oliver has had limited game times in recent seasons. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

With Connacht losing starting openside flanker Colby Fainga’a to Lyon this summer, Oliver will hope to make an impact with the switch of province.

It’s understood that Oliver and Arnold both drew attention from clubs in the UK during this final season of their Munster contracts, but they are now set to stay in Ireland.

Connacht have yet to officially confirm any new signings ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, but Munster have announced that Damian de Allende, RG Snyman, and Matt Gallagher are joining the southern province.

Connacht hooker Tom McCartney is set for retirement, although he could yet feature again if the 2019/20 season is finished out in some form.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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