Munster sign Salanoa as Arnold and Oliver exit for Connacht

By Simon Lewis

Roman Salanoa
Roman Salanoa

Munster announced the signing of exciting young Leinster tighthead prop Roman Salanoa as Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver's exits from the province were confirmed on Monday.

Connacht announced Arnold and Oliver as half of a quartet of Irish talent from neighbouring provinces with Leinster duo Jack Aungier and Oisin Dowling also going west to play under head coach Andy Friend with Connacht stating the quartet will become their players from July 1.

Hawaiian-born Salanoa, 22, has joined Munster a two-year deal. He was capped by the USA at Under-20 level in 2016, moving to Leinster a year later and has made three Guinness PRO14 appearances this season.

Ireland-capped centre Arnold, 24, made 44 appearances for Munster since joining from Ulster in 2016 though his progress was hindered by a string of injuries. So too back-row Oliver, also 24, a former Munster Academy player of the year who made his senior debut in 2016. Both played for Connacht attack coach Nigel Carolan in the Ireland Under-20 set-up.

Conor Oliver and Sammy Arnold
Conor Oliver and Sammy Arnold

Posting on social media, Arnold said his decision to move on from Munster rather than re-sign was “the correct one”.

“It’s been a pleasure to play for Munster and I’d like to thank all involved with the organisation. I’ve made some incredible memories with some of my best friends and them days I’ll never forget.

“I’m hugely excited to be joining Connacht next season. From sitting down with ANdy and Nigel it immediately became clear the direction they want to take the club in. I am massively excited about what the present & the future holds in the west.”

Prop Aungier, 21, and lock Dowling, 22, are less experienced than the signings from Munster with 11 senior Leinster appearances between them but they too have earned Ireland Under-20 recognition.

Friend says all four can add to the squad for next season.

‘“In Sammy, Conor, Oisin and Jack we have secured the signings of four very talented and promising young Irish rugby players,” Friend said. “They each have unique skill sets which will enhance our squad for next season and beyond, and will allow us to continue to grow as a program. We’re all looking forward to welcoming them to The Sportsground and integrating them into our playing squad.”

The quartet will become Connacht Rugby players from July 1 with centre Arnold, second-row Dowling and prop Aungier penning two-year deals.

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