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Connacht secure signing of Blues front row McCartney on three-year deal

The 28-year-old known as ‘Freak’ by his Super Rugby teammates will move to Galway next season.

McCartney in action for the Blues in 2012.
McCartney in action for the Blues in 2012.
Image: Andrew Cornaga

CONNACHT HAVE ANNOUNCED their second signing from Super Rugby in less than a week, with confirmation that Auckland Blues front row Tom McCartney will join the province next season.

The 28-year-old, who is predominately a hooker but also has experience at loosehead prop, has agreed a three-year deal with Pat Lam’s side. McCartney has racked up a total of 64 Super Rugby appearances for the Blues, including two starts in the current campaign.

It is another strong piece of business from Connacht in the transfer market, following hot on the heels of their Bundee Aki coup.

Standing at 6ft 1ins and weighing close to 110kg, the front row broke into the professional game with ITM Cup side North Harbour, before switching allegiances to Auckland in 2007, where he first worked under Lam.

With Kiwi international Tony Woodcock having departed last season, McCartney started seven Super Rugby games for the Blues at loosehead, having previously only appeared in the number one shirt thrice at that level.

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Tom McCartney McCartney carries the ball, with The Honey Badger closing in. Source: ©INPHO/Photosport/Andrew Cornaga

McCartney adapted well to the task, no doubt helped by his apparently voracious appetite for heavy gym work. Indeed, the powerful front rower is affectionately known as ‘Freak’ by his current teammates at the Blues on account of his extreme strength levels.

The latest addition to Connacht’s squad will join at the conclusion of the 2014 ITM Cup. Unsurprisingly, McCartney has stated he is excited about making the move to Ireland.

I believe Galway is a fantastic city and both myself and my fiancée Taryn, whose grandfather is from County Cork, are really looking forward to settling in over there,” said the 28-year-old.

“I’ve been with the Blues and Auckland Rugby for over seven years now and enjoyed every minute. But this move is a fantastic opportunity and the challenge I’ve been looking for.”

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Murray Kinsella

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