Connacht sign Ireland sevens winger Josh Rowland
By James Dale
Last Updated: 14/07/16 5:17pm
Connacht have signed New Zealand-born winger Josh Rowland, who is eligible for Ireland.
Rowland, 27, has been training and playing with the Ireland sevens since April this year, and qualifies for the national team through his grandmother, who is from Dublin.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: "We became aware of Josh's availability as an Irish qualified player through his involvement with the Ireland sevens programme earlier this year.
"He has had a good few months with the sevens set up and we're looking forward to seeing what he can add to our back three options at Connacht as we prepare for a huge season ahead in both the Pro12 and Champions Cup."
Rowland made his Ireland debut in June at the Olympic Repechage in Monaco and was part of the side that won the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy earlier this month.
Connacht face Glasgow first
Reigning champions Connacht will launch the defence of their Guinness PRO12 title against Glasgow Wa
The winger, who can also play as full-back, was part of the same Counties Manukau side as Bundee Aki in 2012 - when the pair were coached by Tana Umaga.
Rowland said: "I am delighted to have been given this opportunity by Connacht Rugby. Training and playing in Ireland the last few months has been fantastic and I've really enjoyed getting to know the players in the sevens set up.
"I've been playing both 15's and sevens rugby all my life and I love the challenge of both.
"I feel I'm in a good place fitness-wise after an intense few weeks with the sevens so I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running at Connacht and putting in some good pre-season work.
"It's a huge opportunity for me as a player and I want to make the most of it and do what I can for the team."
Rowland will join his new Connacht team-mates in training in Galway next week.