Trio commit to Connacht




Connacht trio Frank Murphy, Mata Fifita and Brian Murphy have committed to the province by singing contract extensions.

The latest deals make it 21 players who have pledged their future to the province in recent months.

Scrum-half Murphy has signed a one-year deal, after a disappointing season shaped by a cruciate ligament injury suffered in the first away game away to Zebre back in September.

The injury saw him sidelined for the remainder of the season but Murphy has been in rehab for the last eight months and is expected to be fit for the beginning of pre-season in early June.

Back row forward Mata Fifita has also put pen to paper on a one-year contract.

The 24-year-old Tongan first signed for Connacht Rugby last summer when he was picked straight from AIL club side Sligo RFC.

Despite a knee injury that kept him out of action for a number of weeks, Fifita played eleven games for Connacht this season, including two European Cup fixtures, and also had a significant involvement with the Eagles' side in this year's British & Irish Cup.

The final re-signing this season comes for centre Brian Murphy.

The 27-year-old from Headford made his senior debut for Connacht against the Cardiff Blues, playing a superb role in the 26-22 win at Arms Park - the first victory there in over 12 years.

He held on to that starting berth for the remaining six games of the season and his performances earned him the Player of the Month award for March.

Commenting on the recent re-signings, CEO Tom Sears said: "We are very pleased that Frank, Mata and Brian will be with us next season and all have a significant role to play.

“Frank has endured a tough year with injury but will be desperate to make up for lost time.

“Mata and Brian enjoyed a good start to their careers with Connacht and have shown they have what it takes to make a real contribution to the squad and they will no doubt build on successful first seasons."

Meanwhile, TJ Anderson (Ealing Trailfinders RFC), Dave Gannon, Eoghan Grace (Plymouth RFC), Matthew Jarvis (Nottingham RFC), James Loxton, Mike McCarthy (Leinster Rugby), Dave Moore, Ethienne Reynecke, Fetu’u Vainikolo (Exeter Chiefs) and Mark McCrea (Jersey) are all set to make their exit from the province.

Connacht will also be without veterans Adrian Flavin and Johnny O’Connor next season, with both players retiring from professional rugby.

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