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Connacht announce 4 contract extensions plus the addition of a Ukrainian-born prop

The likes of Peter Robb and James Connolly have committed to Pat Lam’s side until 2018.

Peter Robb beats the tackle of Damien Hoyland on his way to scoring a try Peter Robb on his way to scoring Conancht's fourth try against Edinburgh on Friday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FOUR OF CONNACHT’S most valuable Academy graduates have committed their immediate futures to the province.

Connacht announced today that Sean O’Brien, James Connolly, Peter Robb and Caolin Blade — all of whom are part of Pat Lam’s senior squad this season — have extended their contracts until the summer of 2018.

Twenty-two-year-old Kiev-born prop Ivan Soroka, who has previously represented the Ireland club international team and attended Belvedere College, has also accepted a professional contract for the 2016-17 season, having been on trial from Clontarf during the summer.

“I have always said that retention is a very important part of what we do,” said Connacht head coach Pat Lam, whose side picked up their first win of the season at the expense of Edinburgh in the Guinness Pro12 on Friday night.

Ivan Soroka Ivan Soroka has signed a contract with Connacht until the end of the season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It is vital that we hold on to young players like these who have come through our Academy to the senior set-up and demonstrated that they have the talent and the right attitude to perform on and off the pitch.

“These four young men certainly showed their potential by playing a big part in the success of last season,” added Lam, in reference to Connacht’s Pro12 title triumph in the 2015-16 campaign.

“Ivan [Soroka] has also been offered a contract for the season. Like Niyi [Adeolokun] a few years ago, we gave him a chance to come straight in from club rugby on a trial and he has shown that he has the potential and drive to succeed in a professional set-up. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

Back-row pair O’Brien (21) and Connolly (23) have both made 20 appearances for Connacht. Scrum-half Blade (22) has played 24 times, while Robb scored Connacht’s fourth try against Edinburgh over the weekend in what was his 19th game for the province.

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Paul Dollery

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