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Ex-Connacht prop named on Highlanders bench after joining on short-term deal

23-year-old Conán O’Donnell has linked up with the Kiwi franchise as injury cover.

FORMER CONNACHT PROP Conán O’Donnell has been named on the bench by Super Rugby’s Highlanders for their clash with the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday [KO 8.15am Irish time, Sky Sports Arena].

O’Donnell has joined the Highlanders on a short-term deal after a recent spell with the Crusaders that saw him feature in a pre-season friendly.

23-year-old Sligo man O’Donnell was released by his native Connacht at the end of last season and has taken the road less travelled since.

conan-odonnell O'Donnell in action for Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup last year. Source: Photosport/Marc Shannon/INPHO

He joined the Sunwolves in Japan last year and made five Super Rugby appearances before moving to New Zealand to sign with Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup.

O’Donnell’s performances for the province caught the attention of the Kiwi Super Rugby franchises and after a spell with the Crusaders during pre-season, O’Donnell has now linked up with the Highlanders on an eight-week deal with prop Jeff Thwaites currently sidelined with a foot injury.

Ex-Ireland U20 international O’Donnell will be hopeful of having enough of an impact to secure a longer-term deal with the Dunedin-based franchise and is set for his first shot at making an impression on the pitch after being named on the bench for Saturday’s clash with the Brumbies.

O’Donnell, who has predominantly been playing loosehead in recent years but also has history at tighthead, has been named in the number 18 shirt in a Highlanders matchday squad that also includes All Blacks Aaron Smith, Liam Coltman, Shannon Frizzell, and Josh Ioane.

Highlanders (v Brumbies):

15. Josh McKay
14. Patelesio Tomkinson
13. Rob Thompson
12. Josh Ioane
11. Jona Nareki
10. Mitch Hunt
9. Aaron Smith

1. Ayden Johnstone                                             
2. Liam Coltman
3. Siate Tokolahi
4. Jesse Parete
5. Josh Dickson
6. Shannon Frizell
7. James Lentjes (captain)
8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u

Replacements:

16. Ash Dixon
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Conán O’Donnell
19. Jack Whetton
20. Dillon Hunt
21. Kayne Hammington
22. Michael Collins
23. Teariki Ben-Nicholas

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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