Permanent move for Wootton among 21 new contracts announced by Connacht

Oran McNulty and Cian Prendergast have signed professional deals, while 19 of the existing senior squad have signed on for next season.

Alex Wootton scoring his second try against the Cardiff Blues in February.
Alex Wootton scoring his second try against the Cardiff Blues in February.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE CONFIRMED that 21 players have signed new contracts with the province ahead of the 2021/2022 season.

In all, 19 players from Andy Friend’s existing senior squad have extended their respective stays at the Sportsground, with Oran McNulty and Cian Prendergast making the jump from academy contracts to full-time deals.

Guinness Pro14 joint-top try-scorer Alex Wootton has made his initial loan deal from Munster a permanent move, while four Irish internationals — Finlay Bealham, Jack Carty, Ultan Dillane and Dave Heffernan — have also signed extensions.

Gavin Thornbury, whose current form at provincial level may well see him feature for Ireland before long, is also among those to have put pen to paper.

“I am delighted to see so many of our current crop of players sign on for another season,” said head coach Friend. “This is still a very challenging time for everyone in Irish rugby so to have them commit to Connacht Rugby again says it all about the belief we have as a group to continue the progress we’re making.

“Seventeen of the 21 players were once part of the Connacht academy, and in that group we have a mix of established Irish internationals, experienced players within the province and plenty of young players still in the early stages of their careers.

“I have been very impressed by Cian Prendergast and Oran McNulty, and their first professional contracts is the culmination of years of work from grassroots level to where they are now. Congratulations not just to them but their parents, coaches and all the other volunteers who helped them along the way.

“We are continuing to shape the squad for next season, with further discussions ongoing, and supporters should expect more positive news in the weeks and months ahead.”

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Connacht say that the province’s “retention and recruitment remains ongoing” and that “further announcements will be made in due course.”

Full list of new contracts ahead of 2021/22 season as announced on Thursday

Finlay Bealham
Paul Boyle
Denis Buckley
Matthew Burke
Jack Carty
Shane Delahunt
Ultan Dillane
Jordan Duggan
Conor Fitzgerald
Dave Heffernan
Eoghan Masterson
Sean Masterson
Oran McNulty
Niall Murray
Conor Oliver
John Porch
Cian Prendergast
Colm Reilly
Peter Sullivan
Gavin Thornbury
Alex Wootton

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