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Connacht announce new contracts for two more players as 7 head for the exit

Kieran Keane is getting his business done early ahead of next season.

Winger Rory Scholes has signed a new deal with Connacht.
Winger Rory Scholes has signed a new deal with Connacht.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE TIED two more of their current squad down to new contracts ahead of next season, but the western province have also announced the departure of seven players.

Academy graduate James Connolly and winger Rory Scholes have renewed their terms with Connacht for the 2018/19 season as Kieran Keane continues to shape his squad following the recent signings of Wallaby Kyle Godwin and Robin Copeland from Munster.

In addition, Cian Kelleher, Craig Ronaldson, Eoin Griffin, Darragh Leader and Eoghan Masterson have all committed their futures to Connacht, with more announcements expected in the coming weeks.

However, Naulia Dawai, Stacey Ili, Andrew Deegan, Denis Coulson, Cormac Brennan, Pat O’Toole and Steve Crosbie will all leave the Sportsground when their contracts expire at the end of the current campaign.

Coulson only joined the province last summer after a spell in France with Grenoble but the prop has been deemed surplus to requirements despite 15 appearances this term, while out-half Crosbie, who joined on a short-term deal as injury cover, will also depart.

Denis Coulson Denis Coulson is among the players moving on at the end of this season. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I want to take this opportunity to thank each of the players for the significant contributions they have made to Connacht Rugby over the past few seasons and to wish them well in the future,” Connacht CEO, Willie Ruane, commented.

On the contract renewals of Connolly, who was educated at Newbridge College before coming up through the academy system at Connacht and Scholes, the former Ulster and Edinburgh winger, Keane added: “We are delighted that James and Rory have extended their contracts into next season. We feel we are really building a strong squad and both players will give us even greater options in the 2018/19 campaign.”

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