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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 29 January, 2020

Two more of Connacht's exciting academy players promoted to senior deals

Sean O’Brien and Peter Robb have both impressed under Pat Lam this season.

CONNACHT ACADEMY PAIR Peter Robb and Sean O’Brien will be promoted onto senior contracts next season.

Sean O'Brien O'Brien can play in the back row or second row. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

21-year-old O’Brien has impressed over the course of seven appearances for Pat Lam’s side so far this season, including two starts at blindside flanker.

The Galway native joined the Connacht academy three seasons ago, having built a superb reputation as an underage player. O’Brien – who can also play at lock – captained Roscrea to the semi-finals of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 2013, while also being named as skipper of the Ireland U19 side.

He was Ireland U20 captain for the 2014 Six Nations, impressing with his physical qualities and intelligence around the pitch, although injury ruled him out of that year’s Junior World Championships.

Centre Robb, also just 21, originally came through the Leinster age grade system and starred for the Ireland U20s in 2014. Like O’Brien, he was cruelly ruled out of that season’s JWC through injury.

Former Blackrock College man Robb is renowned as a unique physical specimen due to his strength and power, while his work with Nigel Carolan in Connacht’s academy since joining in 2014 has rounded his skill set out.

Robb has featured four times for Connacht this season in midfield, including three starts in the Challenge Cup.

Peter Robb Robb - like O'Brien - made his Connacht debut in the Challenge Cup clash with Enisei-STM. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“So far this season, 45 players have played for us and a good few of them have been young academy players like Sean and Peter, who have made their step up to the senior team for the first time,” said Lam in welcoming the news of contracts for Robb and O’Brien.

“They have trained well with us and grabbed the opportunity with both hands when it came. Playing your first game for Connacht in -27 degrees in Siberia was always going to be testing but like all the Academy players training with us they were well integrated in the team and felt comfortable in the systems.

“They both have a lot of potential as young Irish players and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with them again next season.”

Conrad Smith sold Ma’a Nonu a beautiful dummy when the All Black centres met in the Top 14 today

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Murray Kinsella

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