Connacht Rugby statement on Sevu Reece:
Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have taken the decision, following contact with Sevu Reece in relation to the circumstances of a recent court appearance, not to proceed with a contract to play with the province.
Connacht Rugby and the IRFU will make no further comment.
Interestingly, the court's decision mentioned his impending move to Connacht as a reason for its leniency. Judge Denise Clark said,
I have considered your circumstances and it's certainly not the case that because you are good at playing rugby that you get the opportunity to be discharged without conviction.
And further an affidavit from Mr McConnell who has attached to that a letter from the head of rugby operations from Connacht where you have been offered a contract to play overseas.
It indicated that if you are convicted your contract will not be offered to you.
Reece has initially signed a pre-contract for a two year deal in May and was due to join up with Connacht in November, at the conclusion of the domestic season.
Originally from Fiji, Reece moved to New Zealand as a teenager and went to high school in Hamilton. He has played for Waikato for the last three seasons, and made an appearance for the Provincial Barbarians against the Lions last year. While he has yet to make a Super Rugby appearance, he is highly thought of as a player and it was considered a coup by Connacht to have brought him to Europe before this incident came to light.