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Irish prop O'Donnell features in Kiwi side's Mitre 10 Cup squad

The 23-year-old tighthead has joined Counties Manukau after playing for the Sunwolves.

FORMER CONNACHT PROP Conán O’Donnell will play for Counties Manukau in New Zealand’s upcoming Mitre 10 Cup, potentially lining out alongside All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams.

O’Donnell featured for the Sunwolves of Japan in the closing rounds of this year’s Super Rugby season, having been released by Connacht at the end of their 2019/20 campaign.

Conan O'Donnell O'Donnell has moved from Japan to New Zealand. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 23-year-old tighthead made five appearances in total for the Sunwolves, including two starts against the Stormers and Jaguares, and has now secured a move to New Zealand.

O’Donnell features in the squad announced by Counties Manukau, based in southern Auckland, ahead of the new Mitre 10 Cup campaign, which kicks-off on 8 August.

The Mitre 10 Cup is the highest tier of provincial rugby in New Zealand and has historically acted as a proving ground for Super Rugby, with O’Donnell set to play alongside some highly-skilled players.

All Blacks star Williams has been released to Counties Manukau for the opening rounds of the Mitre 10 Cup as Steve Hansen looks for him to build fitness.

New Zealand captain Kieran Read is also part of the squad but is highly unlikely to feature, although prop Nepo Laulala will.

In the likes of the highly-promising Etene Nanai-Seturo, Aussie backs Chris Kuridrani and Andrew Kellaway, evasive fullback Luteru Laulala, and Hurricanes back row Sam Henwood, O’Donnell will be part of an exciting group.

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Conan O'Donnell O'Donnell made his Connacht debut in 2015. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Sligo RFC and Summerhill College product O’Donnell played for Ireland at U18 and U20 levels and made his senior Connacht debut in 2015, making four appearances in the Pro12 as Pat Lam’s side went on to win the competition.

However, he was often frustrated by injuries in the years since and made only one start under new head coach Andy Friend last season, as well as six further replacement appearances.

Having secured a deal with the Sunwolves for the closing stages of the Super Rugby campaign, O’Donnell has now moved onto New Zealand for another new experience.

Counties Manukau squad for 2019 Mitre 10 Cup:

Mark Royal, Sean Bagshaw, Seutana Asomua, Tim Metcher, Conán O’Donnell, Nepo Laulala, Donald Maka, Joseph Royal, Zuriel Togiatama, Josephy Case, Daymon Leasuasu, Sikeli Nabou, Viliame Rarasea, Matiaha Martin, Sam Henwood, Johnathan Kawau, Samuel Slade, Daniel Hyatt, Malgene Ilaua, Savelio Ropati, Callum Adams, Kieran Read, Jonathan Taumateine, Liam Daniela, Siaosi Nginingini, Orbyn Leger, Riley Hohepa, Luteru Laulala, Cardiff Vaega, Nathanial Apa, Nikolain Foliaki, Sam Furniss, Sonny Bill Williams, Liam Fitzsimons, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Chris Kuridrani, Andrew Kellaway, Kalione Hala, Tevita Nabura. 

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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