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'I Am Getting Personal Emails' - Connacht's Rugby Has Plenty Of Irish Players Excited

'I Am Getting Personal Emails' - Connacht's Rugby Has Plenty Of Irish Players Excited
By PJ Browne

Yesterday, Connacht confirmed that Leinster academy back Cian Kelliher would be moving to the Sportsground next season.

The 21-year-old, who has signed a two-year deal, has represented Ireland at various underage levels. He also came on as a substitute for the Ireland XV which took on the Barbarians at Thomond Park last season.

It was unusual to see a player heading west rather than east. It could also be something we see more of in the future.

The type of rugby being played in the west is exciting and, certainly in the Pro12, has stretched other teams to their limit. According to Pat Lam, he has a heap of emails from players wishing to play their rugby for Connacht.

The Connacht head coach told the Irish Independent:

The first part of the process when we do any signing is asking 'is the player available?'. We ask, or they let us know. From right around the country, my desk is inundated with, and I am getting personal emails, from players too now saying: 'I would like to come'.

One of Irish rugby's most exciting young talents - Robbie Henshaw - might be departing the Sportsground, but in Kelliher they have acquired a player who Lam believes has bundles of potential. He also believes that Kelliher was not getting the opportunities which his abilities deserved at Leinster.

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I saw Cian with the (Ireland) U-20s and I thought, 'wow that's a star'. But he was in the Leinster Academy. What has surprised me is that I haven't seen him involved. I saw him playing for Leinster against Zebre and score an unbelievable try from 50 metres. Then I haven't seen him again.

Then we were notified by his agent that he was available and keen. What I am really happy about is that we have a player that has ambition to play for Ireland. He realises that in the last two years he hasn't been in the shop window.

Now he is coming to have an opportunity to fight hard here for a place and play the brand of rugby that suits what he does to get on the stage and achieve his goals.

The try which Lam refers to can be watched from the 1:49 mark below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgAcTQpLiQU

Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

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